Temporary well water not sitting 'well' with local residents


Reporter - Kendall Downing

CAIRO, Ill. - We've taken a number of calls at Local 6 from people living in Cairo, Illinois who are concerned about the quality of their water.

Illinois American Water switched the source from surface water at the Ohio River to ground water back on August 21 to make repairs at its Cairo treatment facility.

Residents told Local 6 the new well water is cloudy, leaves a film, and even smells.

At Mack's Restaurant in Cairo, Tab Whitaker is cooking.

"We started noticing it about two weeks ago," she said.

She likes to spend most of her time in the kitchen prepping food, but now more work goes into doing the dishes.

"We had to start boiling the water to wash the dishes," she said.

Whitaker said the well water leaves a residue. You can even see it in the restaurant's ice machine. The new water doesn't sit well with customers, either.

"When you mix it with the fountain sodas, it's a totally different taste," said Whitaker.

Company officials told Local 6 surface water is much different than ground water, and the main difference is the about of minerals. More minerals are in ground water.

"We are getting calls from customers. We assure them that the water is safe to drink," said Terry Mackin, Director of Communications with Illinois American Water.

Mackin said the company switched from river water to well water to make emergency line repairs. He said despite the change in the hardness level and mineral content the substitute water passes all Illinois EPA requirements.

Mackin said the company is currently sending notification to city officials.

Tab Whitaker just wishes she'd heard about it sooner.

"They'll call you about your bill though, but they won't call you about what's going on," she said.

As far as a timeline for repair, Mackin said the company hopes to have the water returned to normal in the next few weeks. They could not give an exact date.