Four days without water, but outage could be over for hundreds of Lake County residents

A water outage in southern Lake County stretched into a fourth day Wednesday and forced a local water park to close.

But as remediation efforts continued, the end appeared to be in sight for affected Aqua Illinois customers in Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods and nearby unincorporated areas.

"At this point, our system indicates that all customers have water, but at varying levels of pressure," Aqua Illinois spokeswoman Brittany Tressler said. "As we continue to add water to the system and customers keep up their conservation efforts, the system will stabilize and customers will have more pressure."

Distribution of free bottled water continued Wednesday at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center, 94 Midlothian Road. But on a day when temperatures and tempers were high, the water park was closed Wednesday because of the crisis.

"We will reopen as soon as water service is restored and we can safely operate," an emailed statement from the village read.

The service outage for roughly 1,200 customers began Sunday morning. Many got water service back by Monday night, but not as many as Aqua Illinois initially reported.

At first, the company said a leaking fire hydrant in Hawthorn Woods was the culprit. But some customers remained without tap water even after that leak was repaired, indicating additional problems in the system.

Three water main leaks - two in Hawthorn Woods and one in Kildeer - and two more leaky hydrants were discovered and repaired, Tressler said Wednesday.

To make up lost volume, water from elsewhere in Aqua's regional service area was being used to fill the company's tank in Hawthorn Woods and help maintain system pressure, Tressler said.

That meant many of the residents who had been without tap water had their service restored as the day went on.

"As we fill the water lines with water, we're being careful to ensure air that was in the lines can escape," Tressler said in an email. "Doing this helps to protect the integrity of the system and can minimize further failures, but it's a slow process."

Water returned to Kildeer resident David Bennett's home Wednesday.

"We can wash the dirty dishes in and around our sink," he said in an email. "Yeah!"

Long Grove Fire Protection District Chief Paul Segalla, who lives in Hawthorn Woods, had running water Wednesday for the first time in days, too - although the pressure wasn't great.

"There was enough water for me to shower," he said. "Hopefully it will hold."

Segalla said he remains concerned the system doesn't have enough water or pressure to fight a fire.

"I am completely frustrated with Aqua," he said. "They have done a horrific job of communicating with the public, and (I'm) angry that they have not communicated with the local governments or fire districts."

Some irate customers took their complaints to Kildeer's village hall Wednesday morning, while others went to state Rep. Nabeela Syed's office. Syed subsequently criticized the company for not resolving the issue more quickly.

"For days, hundreds of households in Hawthorn Woods and Kildeer endured the punishing effects of Aqua Illinois' extended failure to provide water," said Syed, a Palatine Democrat. "The company took far too long to mitigate their failure or adequately communicate with the people they failed."

Syed pledged to explore legislation that could prevent such service breakdowns statewide.

Republican state Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods spoke with affected constituents outside the aquatic center Wednesday. He said Aqua Illinois will hold a community forum about the emergency in coming weeks.

"It's highly unfortunate that something like this happened over a holiday weekend," he said. "I look forward to getting more answers from Aqua."

Aqua customers whose water service returned should boil it for at least five minutes before use. Low water pressure can allow contaminants into a water supply.

The boil advisory will remain active until laboratory tests confirm water quality is restored, Lake County spokesman Alex Carr said.

"Bacteriological samples were collected and analyzed in the (Lake County public works) systems, and so far, there are no signs of water quality impairment," Carr said. "Follow-up testing will be performed after the issue is resolved."

Customers in the affected communities should conserve water, Tressler said.

Aqua Illinois is updating customers online at

Some urged to boil, conserve water

Water woes continue into third day for some Lake County residents

  About 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers in Lake County haven't had drinkable water since Sunday because of a system failure. The company's reservoir for the region is on the northwest corner of Midlothian and Old McHenry roads in Hawthorn Woods. John Starks/
  About 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers in Lake County haven't had drinkable water since Sunday because of a system failure. The company's reservoir for the region is in Hawthorn Woods. John Starks/
  Cases of water were stacked Wednesday in the parking lot of the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center for people without drinkable tap water at home or at their businesses. John Starks/
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