Dixmoor repairs 14th water main break in 2 weeks; state of emergency in effect

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Dixmoor repairs 14th water main break in 2 weeks
Dixmoor, IL repaired its 14th water main break in two weeks on Sunday. The city declared a state of emergency on Thursday.

DIXMOOR, Ill. (WLS) -- South suburban Dixmoor repaired its 14th water main break within two weeks on Saturday.

The newest break was located at 141st Street and Marshfield and is now repaired. A boil order was not issued.

"Our hope that this is the last of the breaks in the short term," Village President Fitzgerald Roberts said. "Before we can begin to find more permanent solutions to the water problems in our community, we need to for things to calm down. Unfortunately, every time we think we are in the clear, we have another break."

This comes after Roberts said the city repaired its other water main breaks and lifted a previous boil order on Friday.

School let out as normal on Friday after being disrupted from the previous breaks. The city declared a state of emergency on Thursday that continues to remain in effect.

"It's been rough very rough for residents, the public works department," Roberts said.

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

"It's still winter and we still have old infrastructure so I would like to keep it there until we get these repairs made that need to be made" he said.

Dixmoor residents received water Friday in nearby Dolton just in case of another break.

"We will support the village over there and make sure that the families over there and the seniors get water," community activist Andrew Holmes said. "Water is a need. They are in a crisis."

There were three water main breaks that 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.

Gov. J.B. 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.

RELATED | Dixmoor water system improvements to begin soon after village presidents signs documents

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.