APLD PRAISES ILLINOIS FOR PROACTIVE EFFORTS TO FIGHT LEGIONNAIRES, IMPROVE WATER SAFETY The Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease issued the following statement of support for new Illinois water safety rules.

SPRINGFIELD (July 17, 2019): The Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease, a national organization formed to educate public officials about the science and investments needed to promote a more comprehensive, proactive approach to fighting waterborne disease, issued the following statement of support for new Illinois water safety rules.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules this week voted to enact rules originally proposed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and supported by the Pollution Control Board to modernize and consolidate the state’s water regulations for the first time since the 1980s. Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease cases at the Quincy veterans home, in McHenry County and in other parts of Illinois over the past few years have put a renewed focus on ensuring our public water systems are safe and free from disease.

“These new rules, carefully crafted over the past six years by the experts at the state agencies, give Illinois a chance to emerge as a real leader in water safety across the country,” said Brad Considine, APLD’s director of strategic initiatives.

“Policymakers in Illinois deserve credit and thanks for taking a strategic, holistic approach to the complex issue of keeping our water safe as it travels through the water distribution system to our homes and businesses. The new rules will:

  • Give community water suppliers new guidance for how they operate, maintain and design their systems
  • Require water storage turnover to reduce water stagnation in water systems, a key factor in bacteria growth
  • Better control water age through improved water system design affecting water pressure, water main sizing, eliminating inactive piping sections, and flushing
  • Require public records of water disruptions such as water main breaks to manage contamination risks
  • Reduce nutrients such as nitrites that support bacterial growth
  • Provide new oversight and regulations for how water should be treated to ensure that fully disinfected water is delivered to homes and buildings

These safeguards should help prevent development and spread of waterborne illnesses such as Legionnaires’ Disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused when people inhale water droplets containing bacteria that can be deadly in the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Illinois leaders should be proud of the work they have done now to make the water system safer and cleaner, and we will continue to work in Illinois and around the country to build on this progress.”