Cahokia Heights Drinking Water
August 3 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the city of Cahokia Heights, Illinois, and the drinking water utilities in the city to take immediate actions to prevent drinking-water contamination and to protect the health of residents. While there is no evidence there is contamination in the drinking water now, a recent EPA inspection identified serious problems that could affect drinking-water safety, especially during sewer overflows. The water systems serve about 21,000 people. Actions taken today are intended to protect residents of Cahokia Heights and the safety of their drinking water. Illinois EPA supports EPA in taking this action to ensure public health is protected.
The Safe Drinking Water Act provides EPA with broad authority to act to protect the health of the public. Cahokia Heights, the Illinois American Water Co., Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District and the Village of Cahokia Public Water System will be required to carry out additional monitoring for bacteria, chlorine and water pressure in areas where sanitary sewer overflows occur, and to address operation and maintenance issues including increasing staffing and making repairs to storage tanks and the distribution systems.
The order requires several steps that together will help ensure sewage does not contaminate the drinking water supply including:
- constant monitoring of drinking water pressure,
- increased testing for bacteria and
- testing for effective chlorine levels to help ensure that sewage does not enter the drinking water.
A system under the correct amount of pressure will keep outside contaminants, like dirt and bacteria, from entering the system. A loss of pressure can occur when water lines leak or break. If bacteria is found in the drinking water, EPA may require the systems to:
- notify the public,
- issue a boil-water notice and provide bottled water until repairs are made and
- conduct repeat sampling.
- SDWA Inspection IAWC and Cahokia Heights Cover Letter (pdf) 8/12/2021
- SDWA Inspection IAWC and Cahokia Heights (redacted) (pdf) 8/12/2021
- Cahokia Heights Cover Letter and Final 1431 SDWA Order (pdf) 8/2/2021
- IEPA letter of support for the EPA 1431 SDWA Order, 7/29/2021 (pdf)
- SDWA Inspection IAWC – PWS and Commonfields of Cahokia PWD and Village of Cahokia PWS, April 26-30, 2021 (pdf)