South Jacksonville Officials Talk Brown Water Problem

By Benjamin Cox on July 18, 2023 at 4:08pm

Several residents of South Jacksonville have been complaining of brown water for the last several weeks.

The Oxville Water Plant experienced a waterline break several weeks ago and hydrants around the village have been flushed in recent weeks. One resident in attendance at the Village’s Board meeting on Thursday night believes there are more problems going on with the village’s water system, and criticized the trustees on a lack of communication on the water problem among others.

Village President Dick Samples says the water main break and the hydrant flushing are the two things contributing to the discoloration in the water: “We have a series of fire hydrants that do not work. We are in the process of replacing these fire hydrants. Every time you crack the valve on a fire hydrant, you are going to get brown water in that area or somewhere. This is due to the lack of maintenance over the years. Something [the current administration and board] inherited that we didn’t cause. We had a major break in the transmission line, which caused a big surge in this brown water. I live out here, too. All of the trustees live out here, too. We go right along with the water. It’s not a point of us doing this on purpose. It’s a point that everyone’s going to have to live with it and I’m going to have to live with it until we get these problems solved.”

Samples says that the Illinois EPA’s tests on the water have all come back clean: “We have had all kinds of EPA testing that I can show you. There has been around 26 tests and all of the tests passed.”

In other action for the water plant, the trustees came to a consensus about waiving bids and accepting a proposal from Richards Electric to purchase a new generator for the plant. The current generator has not been in operation for several years and is difficult to find parts for, according to information Samples gave to the board of trustees on Thursday night. Samples suggested the waiver because of Richards’ current relationship with the village on other outstanding utility work being done. After checking prices online for similar equipment, Samples felt Richards’ offer was the best price that the village could get.

The waiver of bidding and accepting the proposal on the new generator is expected to be ratified at the trustees’ upcoming July 27th meeting.