Old infrastructure, water main breaks leave Robbins' residents with low water pressure on holiday

ByCate Cauguiran and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Friday, November 25, 2022
Residents left cooking Thanksgiving dinner with low water pressure after main breaks in Robbins
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Dozens of homes are without water on Thanksgiving in south suburban Robbins, as work begins on another water main break in the village.

VILLAGE OF ROBBINS, Ill. (WLS) -- Dozens of homes are without water on Thanksgiving in south suburban Robbins, as work begins on another water main break in the village.

Utility crews have started work, during the holiday, on a temporary fix to get the water back up and running. But the mayor said it will take a lot more to make sure the fix is permanent.

"You can't even flush your toilet or nothing, said LaTonya Lattimore, who lives in one of about 100 homes impacted by this latest main break. "The water's not coming out right. You can't even turn your water on."

It all comes down to infrastructure. The pipes in the town are old and need millions of dollars in repairs.

People said it's a familiar issue they're dealing with, but the timing of it is just not ideal with all the cooking that needs to be done on Thanksgiving.

"This is not a Robbins problem, this is a state and federal problem when we're talking about infrastructure," said Mayor Darren Bryant.

The mayor of Robbins issued a plea for help as the south suburb deals with water issues.

About 100 homes have low water pressure, with barely anything coming out of the faucets.

"Very frustrating," said Robbins resident, James Collier. "Can't wash up -- a lot of things you can't do when you don't have water, especially on Thanksgiving -- trying to cook."

Robbins' mayor said there were two water main breaks in the past week -- the latest near 135th Street and S. Pulaski Road, and they've seen 20 water main breaks dating back to February.

"This is a continued problem that we see in a lot of minority and social economic communities across the nation," Mayor Bryant said.

Earlier today, village leaders handed out cases of water to neighbors, as some families looked for alternative ways to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

Every bit helps, especially for those trying to go on with their holiday cooking.

"It's very inconvenient because it takes you much longer to prepare your meals," said fellow resident, Sonja.

The city is working on a temporary fix to hopefully resolve the situation by Friday, but in the end, the mayor said aging infrastructure in the village needs about $40 million in repairs.

"That consists of water heaters, six-inch meter valves and pumping stations that can go out any day," Mayor Bryant said.

RELATED: Illinois investing $94M in infrastructure project in Harvey, Dixmoor, Riverdale

"I ran me some bath water, ran to the store and came back. I was gone for a minute and by the time I got back, it was ready," added Tina Mitchell.

It's a problem we've seen elsewhere in the area. Neighboring Dixmoor has faced similar issues, with leaders also calling for infrastructure upgrades.

Both communities are pushing for solutions and financial assistance.

"A lot of communities are going through the same thing because the pipes are so old and just need to be change, so yeah, we need federal help," Collier said.

"I don't feel like this is right at all because I am paying my money, my bills. You should have my water running, right," Lattimore said.

VIllage leaders hope to have the water back up and running by Friday, but that could be followed by a boil order, so it could be a couple more inconvenient days for these residents.