News Flash

Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: July 8, 2019

Mandatory boil order lifted, residents may resume normal water usage

PF Boil Order

Park  Forest is no longer under a boil order.

The boil order, which began Friday afternoon, was lifted Monday at 1:50 p.m. after village water samples taken over the weekend all came back clear.

Residents may now resume normal water usage.

Village officials first learned of a failed water sample late Wednesday, July 3. Of nearly 30 samples taken during routine tests, one sample taken in the area of Miami and Suwanee Streets tested positive for the bacteria total coliform and E.coli. When alerted to the failed sample Wednesday, village officials ordered a second round of tests to either confirm the findings or rule them out based on the possibility of a false positive.

Park Forest conducted follow-up tests Thursday morning. Water was collected at nearly 30 locations and submitted to an Indiana lab – the closest independent lab to Park Forest – for processing. Results typically take 24 hours.

On Friday afternoon, lab results confirmed one failed water sample did in fact contact the bacteria total coliform. E.coli was no longer present in follow-up sampling.  

The failed water sample again came from a sample station at Miami and Suwanee streets. No other samples of the nearly 60 samples taken over a two-day period around the Park Forest community failed to meet Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards.  

Though village officials suspected the failed sample could have been the result of an issue isolated to the Miami and Suwanee sample station, a boil order was issued while crews further investigated.

Park Forest officially announced the boil order Friday afternoon.

The village first issued a CodeRed alert to residents enrolled in the emergency notification system. An alert was also posted to the village’s website along with more information on the situation. Some residents received a combination of phone calls, text messages and emails based on what notification systems they elected to enroll in.

Additional outreach was done via the Village of Park Forest Facebook and Twitter social media pages. Numerous media outlets were also engaged to aid in alerting residents of the boil order. By 6 p.m. Friday, information on the Park Forest boil order was communicated by:

CBS 2 Chicago
NBC 5 Chicago
ABC 7 Chicago
The Daily Southtown 
ENews Park Forest

More media outlets later published information on the Park Forest’s boil order including:
WBBM Newsradio
Chicago Sun-Times
Southland Voice
Additional placements of the boil order announcement were made to:

* The Orchard LED message board
* Park Forest’s cable station (channel 4 for Xfinity subscribers and channel 99 for AT&T subscribers)
* Signage was posted to the doors of village facilities

The Village of Park Forest is providing answers to some frequently asked questions related to the now lifted boil order:

What caused the water sample to fail to meet standards?
Park Forest Public Works crews suspect the spigot at the Miami and Suwanee sample station was contaminated. The sample station was not utilized for nearly a year prior to last week’s testing. Lack of usage combined with limited sanitizing of the spigot can result in water sample contamination.

Did the contamination enter the system?
No. Contamination was isolated to the Miami and Suwanee sample station. The presence of bacteria was on the exterior of the water system – likely on the spigot – and was not present in any of the nearly 60 other water samples taken across the village. 

Was my family at risk of getting sick?
If the contaminant entered the system and traveled through the system, residents may have been at risk of coming in contact with the bacteria. As a result, the boil order was issued to protect residents from the possibility. Further lab tests show no contaminated water traveled through the system.

How often is Park Forest water sampled?
Park Forest conducts monthly routine samples of water and uses an independent lab in Indiana to process the samples.  

Is there any connection between Park Forest and other communities experiencing problems with their water?
No. Park Forest has its own water system. Six wells in Park Forest pump water to Park Forest’s own water plant, built in 2007, where the water is treated and pumped back through the system.

What if I was not notified?
Park Forest utilizes several ways of alerting residents in the event of a boil order. CodeRed is the village’s emergency notification system which residents must voluntarily enroll in. The village also uses the Village’s website, social media pages, local cable channel, message boards, posts notices to village buildings, and utilizes media partnerships. 

View Frequently Asked Questions on Boil Orders
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