What is the Dixmoor Water Crisis? Here’s What You Need to Know

This blog features the following key insights:

  • The Dixmoor water crisis has left residents without clean water and with low water pressure for more than two weeks.
  • Breaks in the water main that supplies Dixmoor’s water caused the crisis.
  • The village has been able to get some water pressure back, but a boil order remains in effect.
  • Dixmoor residents should boil their tap water or use bottled water to protect their health.
  • As the government continually fails, it’s up to us citizens to keep our water clean.

The Dixmoor Water Crisis Has Revealed Major Local Water Issues

How is it that some communities in the United States don’t have access to clean running water? Many have asked this of the most prosperous country on earth over the years. And the Dixmoor water crisis is yet another example of why the question keeps coming up.

But this example hits a lot closer to home for us in the Chicago region.

In the last two weeks, our very own Dixmoor, IL, has had to endure some horrible water conditions, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. The problem stems from a nearby water main break that has left residents with contaminated drinking water and very low water pressure.

How did this happen, and what does it mean for residents of Dixmoor and the surrounding region? Keep reading to learn the root causes of this problem and what you can do to protect your health. 

What Caused the Dixmoor Water Crisis?

To understand how this problem came to be, you need to know how Dixmoor gets its water.

Like most towns and cities in the Chicagoland region, Dixmoor’s water originates in Lake Michigan. A Chicago water treatment plant takes the water from the lake, treats it and pumps the water out to the suburb of Harvey, IL. Harvey then sends it via water main to Dixmoor.

Clearly, the route from Lake Michigan to Dixmoor homes is hardly direct. The water must travel through many underground pipes and make multiple stops before it gets to its destination. This extended route leaves a lot of room for faulty equipment to cause problems along the way.

Faulty equipment appears to be what led to the Dixmoor water crisis. Some officials claim that a valve at the water distribution plant in Harvey shut off unexpectedly and then reopened too quickly. This malfunction caused several breaks in the water main that supplies water to Dixmoor.

However, representatives from Harvey have recently disputed this claim, saying that the problem lies instead with leaks in Dixmoor’s water system.

But regardless of whether the blame is with Harvey or Dixmoor, the fact remains that the water levels in Dixmoor’s reserve dropped quite a bit. As a result, the two turbine pumps that supply water throughout the village didn’t have the pressure needed for mass dispersal.

This problem is what led to the lack of water pressure in Dixmoor homes. And the breaks in the water main made the water unsafe to drink since they could allow dangerous contaminants to seep in.

A shower head has low water pressure because of the Dixmoor water crisis
Many Dixmoor residents still don’t have enough water pressure to take a shower.

What is Dixmoor Doing to Fix the Issue?

Unfortunately, Dixmoor hasn’t been able to do much to fix the issue since the problem occurred two weeks ago. The village has taken some temporary measures to improve the situation in the short term. But the path to a long-term fix is still uncertain.

For now, the village has rerouted water from fire hydrants in neighboring Blue Island to help improve the water pressure. As a result, residents have been able to resume using showers and sinks. However, the water pressure is still not as high as it should be. The village also remains under a boil order since the breaks in the water main remain unrepaired.

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Those necessary repairs don’t look like they’re coming anytime soon. Village President Fitzgerald Roberts has made it clear that Dixmoor doesn’t have the funds to make the necessary repairs, which could cost millions of dollars. He has called on the state and federal governments to help shoulder the burden.

How Can Residents Protect Their Health?

As officials struggle to handle this crisis, Dixmoor residents can take many steps to protect their health. Here are some essential things to keep in mind if you live in Dixmoor or a region with similar water issues.

Follow Boil Order Guidelines

The boil order in Dixmoor is in place because there’s a possibility the water could contain harmful germs.

For this reason, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using bottled water for consumption and cooking instead of tap water. However, if you don’t have access to bottled water, you should bring your tap water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and then let it cool before consumption. This way, you will kill any harmful germs lurking in the water.

Residents should follow this boil order even if they already have a water filtration system. The reason for this is many water filters are not considered entirely effective during a boil order. Some equipment, such as reverse osmosis systems and UV filters, can help kill any dangerous bacteria lurking in the water. However, residents should still boil their water to be completely safe.

We also recommend sanitizing any water filtration equipment you have once the boil order ends since the unclean water could contaminate the filter.

Boiling water in a pot on a stove
Dixmoor residents should boil their water for at least one minute and let it cool before consumption.

Use Bottled Water Instead

As we mentioned above, the CDC strongly recommends using bottled water instead of tap water during a boil order. The village of Dixmoor has been helping residents do this since the boil order went into effect by making bottled water available for free at Village Hall. Seniors and anyone who can’t get to Village Hall can call 708-389-6121 to get bottled water delivered to them.

Invest in Special Shower Heads

If the water pressure in your home is still too low for showering, you can purchase a special shower head to increase the water pressure. There are many affordable options available, including products on Amazon for as low as $13. This can help as a short-term option until the pressure returns to normal.

What Lessons Can We Learn from This?

This crisis is by no means an isolated incident in our region. Rather, many towns in the south suburbs, such as Dolton and Robbins, have faced similar issues with their water mains.

And it’s no wonder this frequently occurs, considering that many of the pipes in the Chicagoland region are over 100 years old. As Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims put it at a recent press conference, “This isn’t just a Dixmoor problem. This is a problem throughout the south suburban communities…. They wonder why the water bills are so high. The reason why the water bills are so high is because water is seeping into the ground.”

The old age of the pipes in our region has also contributed to many other public health issues like lead contamination and Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks. It’s going to require significant action before it gets better.

Need Help Protecting Your Water?

For this reason, we at Angel Water believe in helping individuals do for themselves what their government has failed to do. You can keep these problems from harming your health and family by being aware of what’s in your water and investing in the proper equipment that will keep your water clean.

If you need assistance getting the clean water you need, we’re here to help! Please call us today at 847-382-7800 to talk to a water treatment expert. You can also use our online Water Wizard to determine the best options for keeping your water safe.

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You don’t have to live with a dry, itchy scalp and brittle hair anymore! It would be our pleasure to help you find the right water softener to make your showers enjoyable again.

Please give us a call at (847) 382-7800 or visit our water softener page to learn more.

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