In a public apology to the residents of Deerfield, Mayor Harriet Rosenthal and the Village Board of Trustees promised a thorough investigation into the facts that led to an order to boil water August 12 and the communication of the dictate at a Board meeting Monday at Village Hall.
“Nothing during my tenure as mayor has been this serious, Rosenthal said. “I’m deeply upset.” “We’re taking this very seriously. We’re going to figure out what we did wrong and how we can do it better. We’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Before Rosenthal spoke, Village Manager Kent Street read the five-page memorandum he submitted to the mayor and the Board out loud. “I’m going to do this very deliberately,” Street said. “It’s a very serious matter.”
The Village will investigate why its reverse 911 call was not received by all residents who are registered for the service.
A study of reporting delays by the Highland Park city operated laboratory that tested the water and found fecal coliform and a potential failure of members of the Deerfield water operator staff to question people at the tab will also be done.
“The fecal coliform test results were available at this time (August 10) and had the laboratory clearly reported these results or the (Deerfield) Village Water Operator asked further about the results, the Village of Deerfield would have known to issue a boil order,” Street said in his report.
After the meeting, neither Street nor Rosenthal would directly state whether representatives of the lab had an affirmative duty to tell the Deerfield Water Operator about the contamination or the Village’s staff had a responsibility to ask rather than wait for test results.
“We’re doing our investigation,” Street said. He said he stood by what he wrote in the memorandum.
When asked about a duty on the part of the lab to immediately inform Deerfield of the fecal coliform, Highland Park Deputy City Manager Ghida Neukirch defended the actions of the laboratory staff.
“We have a very detailed standard operating procedure,” Neukirch said. “I have full confidence our staff followed the procedures thoroughly and notified Deerfield representatives at the onset of any concerns.” Representatives of the two communities will meet Thursday to take a closer look, according to Neukirch.
Rosenthal was critical of both Deerfield and Highland Park. “We had problems with the test lab we use as well as our own employees,” she said. Street indicated other labs will be considered in the future.
Board Approves New Shoe Store, Apartments
In other action, the Board approved Plan Commission recommendations for Tria Boutique, a new high end store selling women’s shoes, jewelry and accessories. The Trustees also gave a final OK to the 248-unit Woodview Apartments in the Parkway North Development.
Patch will have more detailed stories later this week on all issues.
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