The Village of Downs started the water tower rehab project around the middle of September. This project was projected to take up to 2 months to complete. Weather, staffing, etc. would obviously influence this timeline. During this process we could not use the water tower, so we had temporary water pressure tanks brought into the village to manage the demand and supply. We have been using them since 9/19 without issue.
On the night of 11/13 it got extremely cold and the ¾” pressure line froze on the temporary tank. This pressure line tells the electronic system when to kick on and fill the pressure tanks back up. Since they were frozen, the tanks quickly emptied, and the village was without water by 8’ish on Monday morning 11/14. We had to manually fill the tanks and unfreeze the line to get the plant operational. The pressure tank company came and insulated and wrapped heat tape around the line to keep it from freezing.
Because water was “shut off” we are required to issue a Village-wide boil order by the IEPA. The boil order was not issued because of the quality of the water, but as required by the IEPA to protect from potential water quality (bacteria). The watercolor was a result of the system being refilled and sediment being stirred up when the mains were recharged. We are required to have clear results after submitting tests to PDC 24 hrs after the system is back online. We received all clear and the boil order was lifted at 8 am on 11/16.
Two days later, the morning of 11/18, when it got colder overnight the pressure lines froze again which resulted in the temporary pressure tanks being emptied and the village was without water. The same procedure was followed, but this time we had Plumb Crazy install a better heat line and insulation around the ¾” pressure line, which has solved the issue. Tests were taken 24 hrs later and dropped off at PDC on Saturday morning as required. However, since it was the weekend our boil order was extended over the weekend. We learned this morning that they could not find our samples and therefore we are still under the order. We are taking new tests to a different testing facility and hope to be off the order ASAP.
What is next?
We want our water tower back online and the village water plant working without the pressure tanks. We started this process last week on 11/17. The tower restoration was completed mid last week, and we filled the tower halfway for 24 hrs for disinfection. After 24 hrs we slowly started filling the tank to capacity. Once it was at capacity, it had to sit for 24 hrs before we submitted the required sample for Bacteria T. We must pass this test before we could put it back online. That sample was submitted with the 5 water samples, required for the boil order, on the morning of 11/19, which of course we learned today, 11/22, were lost. We are resubmitting this test and hope to be back online with the water tower about the same time we go off the boil order.
We understand and are just as frustrated with this process. We are thankful for the tower rehab process that went very smooth, and we were in the 11’th hour of being back to normal when this storm hit. We apologize for this last week of inconvenience to get a water tower that is just like new and with much needed improvements. Additionally, we are working to get the water plant bid process moving forward so we can finally get a water plant which will provide clear soft water to our residents. The new $3.5 – 4 mil plant will expand the old building, provide a larger filter, provide organics removal (tannins), provide water softening, new electronic control system, and increased water supply with a 3rd well. This project will take 1 – 1.5 yrs to complete. Thanks to COVID we are now 2 years behind where we hoped to be at this time. All things happen for a reason, and we hope this delay will allow us to eliminate our red water filter and avoid that cost.
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