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Can’t somebody at the state step in and help Dixmoor with its water problem?

Friday, Oct 22, 2021

* Jade Yan at the Tribune

Nearly a week a later, Dixmoor is still without reliable running water as Cook County officials met Thursday with representatives of the south suburb and the town of Harvey.

Homes in Dixmoor are still experiencing “a spectrum” of problems ranging from no water to a trickle, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said at a news conference Thursday morning in Dixmoor. […]

Barnes said that officials are “still unsure” what the problem is, and that it’s been difficult to diagnose because the pipes are underground and “the way you diagnose is through process of elimination.”

The problem has been isolated to a stretch of water main that runs under Wood Street, he added. Dixmoor has experienced further issues with its turbines, also known as pumps, one of which still needs to be repaired.

Water may be cut off for residences near where work is being done, said John Yonan, an engineer and Cook County’s bureau chief of asset management. Yonan was unable to provide a timeline for when the problems will be fixed.

* ABC 7

More than 800 students in West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District have been sitting home all week, impacted by the village’s lack of water pressure. Laptops and hotspots were handed out to waiting parents at Dixmoor’s MLK Elementary School Thursday, as one of three district schools prepares to teach remotely Monday. […]

Harvey Village officials have kept quiet throughout the week, even though they supply Dixmoor with its water.

Harvey is where it is believed the problem originally occurred SaturdAy morning after a water main broke. Several more pipe breaks have popped up since then.

“They need some technical kind of expertise to diagnose what they said is a clog in one of their feeder mains,” said John Yonan, Cook County Bureau of Asset Management.

It’s a cascading problem because their pipes are a century old. Something breaks and that causes other things to break down the line. It’s a mess. Meanwhile, people are going without water.

…Adding… According to a Tribune study a few years ago, “Dixmoor’s water bill is higher than 152 of the 162 towns [which use Lake Michigan water] that provided information.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    The water problems in Dixmoor and Harvey are not a new story. there were issues on payment decades ago. Someone did step in to help and negotiate. Let’s see if that agency steps in again.


  2. - Cornerfield - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    Since it is a small town, perhaps the IL Rural Water Association might be able to help. They can help with all sorts of issues, including locating leaks. The village doesn’t need to be a member to receive help.


  3. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:12 am:

    This is ridiculous. The federal government and count and city governments should be fixing this type of infrastructure including sewers and waste water plus’s new copper connections. I guess we can wait and get help from Flint. Durban should be all over this. Years and years in the Senste and in s leadership position how about doing something big for Illinois before you retire?


  4. - H-W - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:18 am:

    Not sure if this is relevant, but when Colchester had a water pressure issue, WIU used a drone to find the underground leak.


  5. - NIU Grad - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    Water is the next major issue facing all local governments in the state. They’re going to counties and the state for help, but they’re not prepared for this.


  6. - Fav Human - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    Give TP credit for being on top of this and getting county expertise involved.

    Of course, it should not come to this…..

    Where is Robin K with federal grants for this?
    Too busy not raising money?


  7. - park - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    This should not be complicated. They can run cameras down the pipes to find the problem. Don’t know why that wasn’t done a week ago. How about the well-staffed Chicago Department of Water Management kicking in some people resources and equipment. The water comes from their system.


  8. - Mason born - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    These kind of problems tend to be long developing. Infrastructure needs updating in order for it to continue functioning. That should be factored into the water rates customers pay. A common problem is municipal governments often are reluctant to raise rates or if they have, they tend to see that pile of money set aside for infrastructure upgrades as a handy pool to borrow/take from for pet projects. Need to upgrade the park? The Water dept. has some “extra” cash. It really doesn’t help that until the pipes fail no one considers them.

    Cornerfield is right that IRWA can offer some technical assistance. IEPA has some loan programs that could help with further upgrades, they also review the systems finances and require best practices before the loan, those loans are pretty cheap. If nothing else Dixmoor seems to need to add an emergency interconnect with another supply if Harvey isn’t reliable.


  9. - City Zen - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    “They need some technical kind of expertise…”

    Can’t someone from a neighboring district help out? If this were a raging fire, fire departments from across the area would be helping out. Treat this the same way.


  10. - Publius - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    We need to aggregate these small suburbs to Chicago or have the county take them over.


  11. - TexasPete - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    Lost in the discussions is the consideration that the water service lines are the property of the property owner. Thus replacement should be the responsibility of the property owner.

    Wanting the government to replace service lines leads to the question of where the limits of government responsibility lie. Should the government then go to homes who have leaded paint and remediate that situation as well? Anything else?

    Government does have the expertise and power to create master contracts that residents can use to get volume discounts on service line line replacements as well as the ability to provide a repayment schedule over 10 to 20 years at governmental interest rates through the property tax system.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 11:59 am:

    === Should the government then go to homes who have leaded paint and remediate that situation as well? Anything else?===

    Ever renovated an old building with lead paint?

    You think the only bad pipes are “privately” owned, or that a whole system of bad piping can’t cause homes damage?


  13. - High Socks - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    Neighboring munis are trying to find a way to help but it’s very difficult with the way water agreements through Chicago are constructed.


  14. - Mason born - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    TexasPete

    If you read the linked stories this doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Service lines but the pressure/volume supplied by the parent supply to the Municipalities mains.


  15. - Anon - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    Maybe the idea of a village of 3,500 people in an almost totally urban county of 5.28 million is an outdated concept. Just the redundancy of services is a major problem and inefficient not to mention the possibility of corruption, think McCook IL.


  16. - Mason born - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    Willy

    FYI on the Lead Service lines issue, systems have been required for some time to remove the lead mains and pipe in their system. What hasn’t been considered as part of their system is the service line from the meter to the house. That portion has been considered as the customers responsibility. That was why the bill last session was a big deal as it hadn’t been the municipalities responsibility.

    But that appears to have nothing to do with this.


  17. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==Maybe the idea of a village of 3,500 people in an almost totally urban county of 5.28 million is an outdated concept. Just the redundancy of services is a major problem and inefficient not to mention the possibility of corruption, think McCook IL.==

    Not just in Cook County. There’s Grandview, Jerome, Leland Grove, Southern View, unincorporated Woodside Township. All surrounded by Springfield and still having to rely on some city services, plus still having a Springfield mailing address.


  18. - BW - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:13 pm:

    Might be a good project for their $484,000 ARPA allocation.

    Mason Born… 2 issues for this situation. 1 they have a pump down so they can’t get the volume of water they need from the supply allocation. Second there appears to be a leak under Wood Street, which sounds like it is going into a nearby tile if the surface is not showing a leak which is bleeding off the pressure that the operational pump is producing.

    They can do sonic testing from the surface to listen for leaks to try and isolate the main issue or start digging and hope they pick the right spot eventually.


  19. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:20 pm:

    Chicago Water System is not responsible for Dixmoor’s water lines and distribution system from the Harvey supply line, although they should consider lending some expertise short-term to find and fix the current problems. Cross-connecting to another municipality may not fix the issues, because the Dixmoor infrastructure can’t take the load now, and they lack the money to redo the whole system to modern standards. And for those who decry small towns, forcible annexation won’t fix the problems anyway–it still takes money to maintain or modernize, as Chicago found out with its lead service line program.


  20. - The Opinions Bureau - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    “Wanting the government to replace service lines leads to the question of where the limits of government responsibility lie. Should the government then go to homes who have leaded paint and remediate that situation as well?”

    We can pay for it now by remediating lead paint and pipes or we can pay for it later with increased education, healthcare, and corrections spending.


  21. - Passerby - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    Good thing the Mayor of Harvey has a nice high 5-figure job with Calumet City now.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:35 pm:

    - Mason born -

    With respect, and also my apologies to it…

    I was commenting that government can and does get involved like when private residences are renovated, and to the public/private pipes, if the public pipes can be fixed that’s a good thing, full stop, the rest… the state needs to find ways to help.


  23. - DuPage - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 3:06 pm:

    A very dangerous problem, if the water pressure goes very low (


  24. - Dupage - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 4:17 pm:

    (under 7 PSI), ground water can seep into the water lines.


  25. - DuPage - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 4:24 pm:

    The feds sent a grant to Michigan to correct their lead pipes. The state should try to get an emergency grant for the problem in Dixmoor and other water systems in Illinois. Where are our US senators and congressmen?


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