In the Village of Oquawka, Illinois, there are homes and businesses that have been without water for a month.
A press release from the Village of Oquawka says the extremely low temperatures over extended periods of time have driven the frost line deeper than what is typically experienced in this area. As a result, water service lines are freezing and recent warm temperatures and heavy rainfall may make conditions worse before they improve.
Carrie Melvin has had her water off since February 8, 2014.
“I’ve never went this long without water before, never,” she said.
She’s been carrying 30 gallons of water into her home from her brother’s well every other day.
“It’s been very, very difficult, very difficult,” said Melvin.
To shower, she heats water in a kettle and pours it in a bowl. To flush her toilets, she uses large buckets of water.
“You go through a lot of water to flush the toilet, you really do,” said Melvin.
24 other homes or businesses in the Village of Oquawka do not have water and have not for a month in some cases. The Village of Oquawka only has two people working on fixing the lines and that’s not their only job.
“We’ve had bad temperatures and then the snow and the heavy rain last week, so then they were dealing with flooded streets, so the two workers keep getting pulled off to work on other projects to keep things maintained and going,” said Jenna Link, the Certified Water Operator in Oquawka.
Mayor Sandra Moody does not have a timeline for when the problem will be fixed, but says it could be another month because they need to wait for warm weather.
“It has to be that way. It is that way, because we only have one forklift, it’s not possible to dig down into the ground without ruining our equipment,” said Moody.
Moody says what they need is manpower and Melvin agrees.
“They need to get some people in here that know how to do it, other towns have had frozen water, and they’re getting it unthawed for them, they’re not going 17,18 days without water,” said Melvin.
Warm weather is too far away with her water gone.
There are water bottles available at the Village Hall. Starting Tuesday, February 25, 2014, a tanker was available at the Oquawka Fire Department.