PALATINE, Ill. – Following meetings with constituents regarding a serious water service disruption in her community, state Rep. Nabeela Syed, D-Palatine, introduced a public safety measure that will require that water distribution companies, including Aqua Illinois, notify affected fire departments while water supplies are disrupted.
“Back in July, nearly 1,200 households in Kildeer and Hawthorn Woods, who rely on Aqua Illinois as their water source, experienced a serious water disruption. I got the chance to hear from quite a few affected residents. It was clear that, in addition to the obvious mechanical breakdown, the water utility company’s poor communication was a serious failure. The measure I introduced today targets that problem,” Syed said. “Local fire departments were not made aware of the disruption directly from the company, putting public safety in jeopardy. The legislation I just introduced will require that water distributors notify fire protection services about any disruption in the water supply.”
Syed’s House Bill 4144 is the direct result of the water service disruption in Hawthorn Woods and Kildeer that lasted nearly five days for some residents in July. Tenuous communication between Aqua Illinois, the water provider, affected residents, and fire departments precipitated confusion about the timeline for the return of clean water. Meetings further revealed that Aqua Illinois did not directly notify the local fire department about service disruptions, which could have posed a serious threat to public safety. Syed’s bill requires that water services dealing with similar disruptions in the future notify affected fire departments within 2 hours of being aware of an unplanned water disruption.
“A disruption in the water supply naturally affects how fire departments respond to emergencies. Getting first responders the tools and information that they need to save lives is a priority for me,” Syed said. “A situation where firefighters arrive on the scene of a fire and are unaware of the status of the water supply simply cannot happen.”