Dixmoor declares state of emergency after 3 more water main breaks, boil order extended

Boil order continues

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, February 2, 2024
Dixmoor declares state of emergency after 3 more water main breaks
Dixmoor, IL declared a state of emergency Thursday after 3 new water main breaks were located at 141st and Wood streets and 141st near Page Street.

DIXMOOR, Ill. (WLS) -- Our coverage of this story has moved here.

The south suburb of Dixmoor has declared a state of emergency Thursday after the village saw three new water main breaks overnight.

The latest water main breaks were located at 141st and Wood streets and 141st near Page Street, according to city officials.

There are now a total of 15 water breaks in Dixmoor. There is currently a boil order in effect.

"At this point our community is overwhelmed," Village President Fitzgerald Roberts said. "We need help. These old pipes are breaking, and we have no idea when it will stop."

This comes after three water main breaks closed schools on Monday, a boil order for more than 300 Dixmoor homes was lifted last Friday, and another water main break happened on Saturday.

RELATED: Dixmoor sees 9th water main break in a week, city says

Officials say the emergency declaration will allow the village to seek funds from the county and state, but Mayor Fitzgerald Roberts said in the short term he's expecting problems to get worse.

"We're dealing with more and more pipes that's continuing to crumble out here in Dixmoor, and right now we have residents without water, and pretty soon if we keep letting it go on like this, won't nobody out here will have water," he said.

Crews were out with heavy equipment Thursday afternoon working where the new water main breaks were discovered.

While the entire village remains under a boil order, many residents have no water at all.

Governor JB Pritzker said he's aware of the situation, and the state has for some time been working to replace aging infrastructure in the south suburbs.

"We've been doing it ratably as we could within the context of our infrastructure bill, but obviously when you've got emergencies like this we need to make sure that we're assisting in every way we can," Pritzker said.

Residents there said they're used to this by now, but they want more help from elected officials.

"I would like to see our legislators focus on us taxpayers. We spend a lot of talk about on the millions spent on migrant issues. I'd like to see some of that money come to us," said lifelong Dixmoor resident Tim Arrington.

At Dixmoor Village Hall they've been handing out bottled water to residents.

The up-and-down temperatures are not helping matters, but an aging infrastructure is really the source of the issue. City officials have been asking for local and federal help for years now to permanently fix these water problems.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Cook County funded about $2 million in repairs within the last year, which replaced a 2-mile water line. The mayor said that has certainly helped, but he still needs a total of $50 million to fix the aging infrastructure.

"We have a plan moving forward. We're getting federal help and also getting state and county help. Toni Preckwinkle has been our president, and she's been great to us," Roberts said.

Roberts said there are plans for more infrastructure repairs that will start in the spring with the help of local and federal funding.

Statement from Cook County President's Office

Accessible, consistent and clean drinking water is crucial to the vitality and health of the community of Dixmoor and throughout the south suburbs. Cook County is working closely with leadership from the Village of Dixmoor to help address watermain breaks and disruptions of water service in their community. The County is sending emergency alert messages to residents and have sent delivery of thousands of bottles of water in partnership with the Salvation Army and Thornton Township. Cook County's Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security will continue to work with the Village of Dixmoor to assist them in accessing the resources they need in order to effectively and swiftly manage this emergency.

To date, the County has partnered with our federal leaders to provide financial assistance to the village for water infrastructure upgrades, and the Cook County Bureau of Asset Management is working closely with the Village of Dixmoor to ensure major repairs to the water infrastructure system are underway. Cook County will continue to partner with leaders on the local, state and federal levels to make the investments needed to solve these problems for the long-term.