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Water woes in Dixmoor force abrupt closure of schools

DIXMOOR, Ill. — Dixmoor is again dealing with busted century-old water mains, with the latest occurrence forcing hundreds of students out of school.

According to village officials, long-term relief is more than likely years away.

Jeff Maxey was among the hundreds of Dixmoor parents scrambling to deal with school closures.  

“You send your kids off to school and then all of a sudden you get phone calls saying you have to come home because they’re sending them back home,” Maxey said.

Rusted pipes in Dixmoor. (Photo/WGN)

“I know it’s frustrating for parents,” said Dixmoor Village president Fitzgerald Roberts, adding that he knows the inconvenience is not fair for parents and their children.

Both King Elementary on Seeley Avenue and nearby Rosa Parks Middle school will likely remain closed for days, Roberts fears.

“I need help,” Roberts said. “We need help here in Dixmoor. The pipes are old. Very old. Over 100 years old.

At least four water mains have burst open since Friday. As a result, village contractors are racing to patch things up. But Dixmoor’s board says it won’t be nearly enough.  

“We need to fix this problem instead of putting Band-Aids on it,” Roberts said.

WGN News reported in the spring that Congresswoman Robyn Kelly, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and others marked the arrival of $2 million in federal funds to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to study the problem in Dixmoor.

The village is one of several south suburbs struggling with similar issues. Yet, Roberts says work in Dixmoor won’t begin until October, carrying over into 2023. Contractors say it’ll only replace about a mile of aging water mains. But Dixmoor village leaders say they’ve got an emergency on their hands in the short term.

“We’re trying to find federal, state, county dollar,” Roberts said. “Whoever can come in and help us with this issue.”

Dixmoor isolated the breaks, so there is partial service to the community. While no boil order is yet in effect, village leaders say the service disruptions must stop.  


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