Some Lake County communities Friday continued to deal with a rare shutdown of the Lake Michigan water delivery system pending test results.
The Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency, which delivers water to 10 communities and Lake County, shut down the entire delivery system Thursday after an unexpected issue with a scheduled repair associated with a transmission line.
Crews worked through the night, and the repair was complete early Friday. With test results for bacteria pending, towns such as Libertyville and Lindenhurst are using reserves until the all clear is given.
The results of two state-required tests for bacteria after water main repairs were expected at 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.
Some member communities resumed taking water at 8 a.m. Friday, according to Darrell W. Blenniss Jr., JAWA executive director.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency guidelines allow communities with established water quality histories to provide drinking water in these conditions provided they perform hourly water quality monitoring, in addition to the two bacterial tests, after a repair, Blenniss said.
Communities taking Lake Michigan water before the test results are in will be required to issue a boil order advisory if one of the samples has a positive result. Once both samples have returned as negative, no further notice is required, he added.
In Lindenhurst, which began receiving Lake Michigan water in December after two years of construction, water from backup wells was introduced to the distribution system.
"The system is fine," Administrator Clay Johnson said Friday morning. "It's good to go, but to keep pressure we have our wells going."
Residents were advised they might notice some discoloration, but the water was safe to use and drink.
Libertyville issued an alert Friday afternoon to residents and businesses to conserve water until the issue was resolved. The village will be using backup wells until both tests results come back.
"We have enough water to wait until 11 a.m." Saturday, said Mayor Terry Weppler, the village's representative on the JAWA board. "We're being judicious and conservative."
Meanwhile, there may be a difference in taste and potential odor but the water is safe to drink, Weppler said.
Johnson said the village also will wait rather than risk having to issue a boil order.
"That's just massively inconvenient for everybody," he said.