Will Lake County residents, officials get answers about recent water system failure?

Southern Lake County residents affected - and angered - by a weeklong loss of clean water earlier this month can meet next week with the company responsible.

Senior representatives of Aqua Illinois will explain why the water system failed and describe what steps the company will take to prevent the crisis from reoccurring, local lawmakers announced.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. July 27 at Hawthorn Woods village hall, 2 Lagoon Drive. The meeting may be livestreamed, too, but details haven't been finalized.

Aqua Illinois' Hawthorn Woods-based system experienced multiple failures starting July 2. An estimated 1,200 residential and commercial customers in Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and nearby unincorporated areas were advised to boil water before drinking or cooking with it; hundreds lost water service for days.

Several pipe breaks and other issues were discovered over time.

Repairs were completed by July 9. All the affected customers were told their water was safe to drink again by July 11.

During the emergency, residents criticized Aqua Illinois for the cascading problems as well as the company's communication efforts.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates public utility services across the state, received dozens of complaints from Aqua Illinois customers regarding the crisis. It subsequently launched an investigation into the emergency and the company's response.

Republican state Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods and Democratic state Rep. Nabeela Syed of Palatine publicly called for the company to explain why the system failed, too.

"I'm looking forward to a full explanation of why this incident happened in the first place, and to hear what steps the company is taking to make sure this never happens again," McConchie said Monday.

Syed called the meeting "a good first step to ensure the experiences of residents in our community are being heard by Aqua Illinois."

Aside from confirming her company will participate in the meeting, an Aqua spokeswoman had no comment Monday.

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  Hawthorn Woods resident Bella Mladenova loads a case of bottled water into her vehicle earlier this month at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center. Mladenova was among the roughly 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers who were advised to boil tap water or used bottled water because of a system failure that began July 2. Russell Lissau/
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