Bill inspired by July water crisis in Lake County introduced in state House
Two months after a system failure left hundreds of homes and businesses in southern Lake County without drinkable water for days, state legislation has been introduced that would require utility companies to notify fire departments when water supplies are disrupted.
The emergency, which lasted July 2-11, affected roughly 1,200 Aqua Illinois customers in Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and nearby unincorporated areas. Not only were people without safe water to drink or use for cooking, but a local fire chief said Aqua Illinois didn't reach out to departments to discuss the possible impact on firefighting.
State Rep. Nabeela Syed, a Palatine Democrat serving the affected communities, was among the officials who demanded an explanation from Aqua Illinois as well as assurances the crisis wouldn't reoccur.
On Thursday, Syed filed legislation that would require water utilities to notify affected fire departments within two hours of the discovery of an unplanned service disruption, including those as small as a damaged fire hydrant.
It also requires fire departments and dispatch centers to designate email addresses for notifications of planned and unplanned service outages.
"A disruption in the water supply naturally affects how fire departments respond to emergencies," Syed said in a news release. "A situation where firefighters arrive on the scene of a fire and are unaware of the status of the water supply simply cannot happen."
More information about the July system failure and Aqua's response can be found at aquawater.com/iljuly2023.php.