So, About That Water In Park Forest…

Gary Kopycinski

By Gary Kopycinski

So, about that water issue in Park Forest…

It’s about the pipes. All 72 miles of them.

I was at a meeting tonight with some Park Forest residents. At the very end of the meeting, someone mentioned the quality of water in her residence. She said that she has taken bottles of discolored water to the Water Department, and encouraged other residents to do likewise.

I raised my hand and asked permission to speak, immediately asked for the floor and was recognized.

I advised the residents to call the Water Department if they are concerned about their water and ask for their water to be tested. I further told them it would be a waste of time to bring bottles of discolored water to the Village because those samples could not be tested. Samples tested must be taken according to certain protocol.

I further mentioned that the village is replacing water mains, and expressed my personal wish that we could replace all 72 miles at once, but this would be cost prohibitive.

Further mentioned that the water coming from the plant is exceptional, but the pipes are more than 62 years old, that every test ever performed on Park Forest water is on the IEPA’s Web site, that the IEPA has a higher standard for testing than the FDA and tap water is better than bottled water.  

Also told the residents, if they are concerned about their water, call the Water Department for a test. A test will be scheduled.

I forgot to mention at the time that the water main replacement at various places throughout the village is stirring up sediment. Also forgot to mention that unidirectional flushing is scheduled for the fall, for the first time ever in Park Forest, and, according to reports from engineers, this will eliminate 90% of the sediment currently in those 62+ year-old pipes.

I did tell the residents that I do not have problems with my water, but I’m on the west side of Ash Street, close to the water plant. Others in Park Forest may have other experiences.

The bottom line is this: the water coming from the water treatment plant in Park Forest is exceptional. The pipes in the ground, which we are working to replace (without levying taxes to replace them all at once, seeking grants, etc.), well, the pipes, in many cases, are more than 60 years old.

There’s some sediment there. Unidirectional flushing in the fall should eliminate all but 10% of that.

Chief Water Plant Operator Ron Erickson told ENEWSPF the plan is to continue water main replacements and to work to improve the system, "We will continue to do all we can to assure the residents that their drinking water is safe.  With all the work that is going on throughout the village, I understand that the aesthetic quality of the water is not always as good as the residents, or for that matter DPW staff, would like it to be. But we will continue to make improvements to the system, educate the consumer and address any problems a resident may have on an individual basis."

If you have concerns about your water, please call the Water Department at 708-748-1112. If you do not get a satisfactory response, please call me at 708-808-0204.

But, please, don’t take bottles of water to Village offices.

They’ll just recycle them.