South Jacksonville Remains on City Water While Water Plant Problems Persist

By Benjamin Cox on November 10, 2022 at 9:51am

The Village of South Jacksonville remains on the City of Jacksonville’s water today.

The village is currently experiencing problems with their pumps and other equipment at the Oxville water plant that have been down since the middle of last month.

Village President Dick Samples says the supply chain is the hold up: “We’re waiting on parts. Supposedly, they are supposed to be in this week, but what screws up this week is Election Day on Tuesday and Veterans Day on Friday giving two days of vacation, so to speak. It’s very possible the repairs could be pushed off to next week, but we’re simply waiting on parts is all.”

Samples says that interim Water Superintendent Bryce McCormick has come up with a checklist of items that need to be fixed and cleaned up at the water plant after lengthy deferred maintenance: “Bryce has been really helpful. He’s been working for us [for about the last month], and he’s come up with several different proposals of what we need to do down at the water plant to make it operate more efficiently. We have a lot of parts coming in. We’re doing more maintenance down at the water plant through Bryce’s requests…things that should have been done a long time ago…mostly just maintenance items. The water has been safe to drink but we are trying to make it better for our customers, and taste better, be better as far as not being as hard and all of that.”

McCormick will stay in his position until permanent Streets & Utilities Superintendent Brian English receives a license as a water operator from the State of Illinois. The licensure process could take up to 2-3 years depending upon the state.

Samples says it’s been a frustrating couple of weeks to simply have to sit around and wait: “Everything you do anymore, you have to turn around wait because of the backlog on parts and people that can do the work. Not the Village of South Jacksonville’s employees…I’m talking about people that we have to contract with like cleaning our wells at the water plant. It should have been done a long time ago, but it wasn’t and now you have to schedule that work sometimes 5-6 months, maybe a year in advance. We were placed on the waiting list, and we’ve got them both cleaned now but we’re now waiting on the parts to come in to fix the main pumps.”

Samples says that the cosmetic construction left to do on the water plant building remains outstanding. He says he has a couple of contractors he’s contacted locally to do the work, and similar to the parts the plant is waiting on, the contractors are busy, too.

The last time the Village had to purchase water from the City for this length of time was in July 2019 when the water plant at Oxville sustained a lightning strike disabling the plant’s control panel for several weeks.