Harvey officials: We're not responsible for Dixmoor's water woes

The finger-pointing continues between south suburban leaders in Dixmoor and Harvey. At the center of the dispute is Dixmoor’s ongoing water crisis.

It’s been more than a week since Dixmoor residents have been able to drink the tap water and water pressure continues to fluctuate.

Harvey supplies all of Dixmoor’s water.

Alice Hearn and scores of other Dixmoor residents were back at Village Hall on Tuesday, picking up cases of water for cooking and drinking.

"Well, it’s running," said Hearn of her tap at home. "But it’s running and it cuts off, goes short. It comes and goes."

It’s been more than a week since water pressure slowed or stopped completely, which Dixmoor Village President Fitzgerald Roberts blames on next-door Harvey that supplies its water.

"It was a valve turned in Harvey. Dixmoor didn’t turn no valve," said Roberts.

But after days of silence, Harvey’s mayor is firing back.

"A lot of what was reported did damage to the city of Harvey," said Mayor Christopher J. Clark. "Because it made it look like our system was at fault."

An engineering firm hired by Harvey found a big water main break in a wooded area of Dixmoor near I-57. The firm says the break may have been gushing water for close to two years, and are blaming it for the water pressure problems.

"We estimated that break, based on the size of the main, being in the business 40 years, we estimated it [is putting out] over 500 gallons a minute," said Randy Lusk, a water engineering consultant hired by Harvey.

That’s equal to pretty much all of Dixmoor's water consumption.


But when FOX 32 showed the video to Dixmoor’s Village President, he denied the water main break even exists.

"I see that out in the woods," said Roberts. "Guess what? That was the day right after it rained. So rainwater would also sit out there."

Roberts insists Harvey is to blame for the ongoing problems. But Harvey’s mayor says he’s not playing that game.

"Somebody has to be the adult in the room," said Clark. "Somebody has to take the leadership. Someone has to take the responsibility. I’m not going to attack my fellow mayor because of some of the things that may have been said. I'm not going to do that."

But a member of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association warned what happened in Dixmoor could happen anywhere.

"Many of our communities have aging infrastructure that needs modernization," said Kristi DeLaurentis. "And what happened last week is a clear indication of the ticking time clock that many communities are facing."