Some Lake County residents urged to boil and conserve water after system failure

Customers of a water utility serving parts of southern Lake County should boil tap water or use bottled water because of a system failure that began Sunday morning.

Some customers remained without running water as of Monday evening.

The boil advisory was issued after roughly 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers in Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and some nearby unincorporated communities lost water service.

A leaking fire hydrant in Hawthorn Woods caused water pressure to drop, Aqua spokeswoman Brittany Tressler said Monday. The regional system already had a low water supply because of the ongoing drought, she said.

Service was restored to nearly all the customers by Monday evening. Fewer than 10 customers in the Kildeer area remained without running water as of that time, Tressler said.

"We are working to determine the cause (of the continued outage there)," she said.

Whatever water is flowing from taps in the affected areas may not be safe to consume, officials said.

People should boil water for at least five minutes before use, Lake County spokesman Alex Carr said. That order will remain active until laboratory tests confirm water quality is fully restored, he said.

No timetable was available.

The Aqua Illinois water system in the region is based near Midlothian and Old McHenry roads. It includes two groundwater wells, an ion exchange system to treat the water supply, a 370,000-gallon water storage reservoir and miles of water mains, according to the Lake County public works department's website.

Kildeer resident Barb Novak discovered her house in the Hawthorn Hills neighborhood didn't have running water about 7 a.m. Sunday when she tried to fill a water bowl for her dogs, Joy and Brodie.

"The faucet sort of fizzled and spit, and nothing much came out," Novak said. Neighbors reached via text messages and a local Facebook group confirmed they shared the predicament, she said.

Novak said water eventually started coming from her taps about 11 a.m. Monday - but with less pressure than usual.

David Bennett, who lives in Kildeer's Wentworth subdivision, still didn't have running water in his family's home as of midafternoon Monday. He said he was using dirty water from the sump pump ejector pit to refill toilets after use.

Bennett canceled a party planned for Monday night because of the outage.

"It's a sanitary issue," he said.

Lake County officials, the Lake County Emergency Management Agency and the Salvation Army delivered four pallets of bottled water to the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center, 94 Midlothian Road, on Monday for affected residents and businesses.

In addition to boiling tap water, Aqua urged affected customers to conserve water by eliminating outdoor water usage, taking shorter showers, minimizing the use of washers and dishwashers and not letting tap water run unnecessarily.

Updates from Aqua are online at

Aqua Illinois serves about 280,000 people in 14 counties, its website states. Its parent company, Pennsylvania-based Essential Utilities, serves 3.2 million people across eight states.

  Anthony DiMaggio, son of Hawthorn Woods Mayor Dominick DiMaggio, carries a case of water to a vehicle Monday at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center. John Starks/
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