'Still pretty angry': Water crisis in southern Lake County enters sixth day

For the sixth consecutive day, hundreds of residents in southern Lake County were advised Friday to boil their tap water because of continued problems with the pipes serving their neighborhoods.

The affected Aqua Illinois customers included Hawthorn Woods resident Susan Bauer, whose home had no water service for four days earlier in the week but did Friday.

"Yesterday I actually received an Aqua bill," Bauer said. "I was very tempted to throw it out."

The boil order is expected to remain in effect through the weekend for roughly 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers in Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and nearby unincorporated areas.

The emergency began Sunday morning. Many customers, including Bauer, had no tap water until Wednesday.

Since then, Aqua crews have found and repaired additional breaks or leaks likely caused by the recent added pressure on the water system, the company said on its website. Some of those repairs have required temporary service outages, Aqua Illinois spokeswoman Brittany Tressler said.

"Every time we find a small break or leak, it doesn't mean that customers are losing water service," Tressler said Friday afternoon. "All customers have service at reliable water pressure levels right now, and any leaks or breaks that we're finding are not impacting service."

If water service will be affected, Tressler said, customers will be notified and Aqua will update a Web page dedicated to the emergency. That page can be found at

Aqua Illinois customers can sign up for text and phone alerts at

Bauer said the water coming out of her home taps has had "decent" pressure.

"My husband and I are showering ... with our eyes closed and mouth shut," she said. "We are using our dishwasher, but running it twice and on sterilization."

Bauer said she and her neighbors "are still pretty angry" about how Aqua Illinois has handled the emergency.

"We will demand answers," she said.

Bottled water is being provided free to customers between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center, 94 Midlothian Road. Aqua Illinois has promised that will continue until the crisis is resolved.

Pallets of bottled water filled part of the aquatic center's parking lot Friday, and a steady stream of people came by to take cases home.

"This definitely helps," Hawthorn Woods resident Maria Theodosis said. "You can't really use it to flush toilets or take showers, but at least it gives you drinking water and the ability to at least wash any dishes."

The water distribution operation didn't affect the aquatic center's usual business Friday because it's been closed been all week.

A water pipe there is broken and hasn't yet been repaired, Aqua Illinois officials have said.

To improve service in the area, Aqua Illinois intends to build a second pump and well station at its Hawthorn Woods plant.

Additionally, Aqua Illinois has pledged to develop a water-supply plan based on growth projections for the area and update the company's water main replacement program.

Daily Herald staff writer Brian Hill contributed to this report.

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  Aqua Illinois executive Jim Bilotta brings a case of bottled water to a waiting car Friday at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center. Aqua Illinois crews have been working since Sunday to repair breaks and leaks in its Hawthorn Woods-based system, leaving people without clean tap water. Brian Hill/
  Pallets of water sit ready for distribution at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center on Friday. Brian Hill/
  Pallets of water sit ready for distribution Friday at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center. Brian Hill/
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