Dixmoor water problems stretch on with boil order still in place as residents' patience wears thin

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Dixmoor residents losing patience as water woes stretch on
It's been nearly a week since water pressure in Dixmoor plummeted, and with no solution in sight residents are growing incresingly frustrated.

DIXMOOR, Ill. (WLS) -- The water woes in south suburban Dixmoor have lasted nearly a week with no end in sight, and the consequences have rippled out to schools and beyond.

The 800 students in West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District will be on remote learning Monday due to the water pressure problems. The three schools in the district have been closed all week. Thursday, school officials began distributing laptops and hotspots to families.

The water problems are not expected to be fully resolved for several more days.

"I was pretty good at remote learning, but I don't want to do it agan," said sixth grader Fabian Hernandez.

RELATED: Dixmoor water main break fixed after residents left without water much of weekend: Village officials

Visiting Thursday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle promised to help the impoverished village as they struggle to identify the source of the problem. Water pressure has been so low in some parts of town, it's effectively nonexistent.

Much of the infrastructure in Dixmoor over 100 years old. Officials said all they can do for now is put a Band-Aid on the problem as they call on the state for financial aid to modernize the system.

"If we're going to address inequality and particularly racial inequality, we have to concentrate our resources in the communities most challenged," Preckwinkle said. "It's not just Dixmoor. It's Harvey, it's Robbins. It's Phoenix. It's Riverdale. We could go on."

Absent from the visit were Harvey village officials, who have chosen to remain silent throughout the week. Harvey supplies Dixmoor with its water, and Harvey is where it is believed the problem originally occurred Saturdy 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.

The village continues to give out bottled water to residents, but they are now trying to find a place for seniors to go to take showers. Patience is wearing thin, especially among those in the hardest-hit areas.

"I just need water," said resident Mushir Zeka. "Water is very important. Especially because I'm living here, and I want the services to come to me. I'm paying for it."

Statement from Village of Dixmoor

The ongoing efforts to identify the faulty valve which is causing the water pressure issues in the Village of Dixmoor continues, and there is no change in the conditions in the south suburban community, according to Village President Fitzgerald Roberts.

Currently, the Village is using Harvey fire hydrants to fill up its reservoir to at least offer some temporary relief while the search continues for the faulty valve. Dixmoor's readings and measurements clearly show the problem is not in the piping in the Village.

Both the City of Harvey and the Village of Dixmoor are continuing to work together to figure out where the problem is so that it can be fixed. Schools and businesses remain closed. The boil water order remains in effect. Additionally, bottled water continues to be available at Village Hall to residents who need it. Seniors are encouraged to call the Village at 708-389-6121 and water will be delivered to them.

"I also ask that people check on their neighbors and make sure they are OK," Roberts said. "This is an emergency situation, and we don't need to play politics. We need to come together to get through this crisis."

The City of Harvey is the sole source provider of water for the Village of Dixmoor.

Dixmoor sits in southern Cook County, Illinois, approximately 18 miles south of downtown.