CI Hero: Illinois American Water frontline workers maintain essential inspections, testing amid COVID-19

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD)– Basic human survival relies on water. A resource, water workers say many take for granted. This week’s CI Heroes are Illinois American Water frontline workers. They’re ensuring H2O is safe and available throughout the pandemic.

Water sprays from a hydrant on Peoria’s Tripp and Prospect Streets. Illinois American Water’s Terrance Taylor tests the stream.

“It’s very important for us to be out here to make sure that everyone gets this essential resource,” said Taylor, a field service technician.

The essential business works to provide safe and reliable water to the region.

“There’s no, ‘oh, let’s wait until Monday. Let’s wait until the pandemic is over,'” said Pam Ingersoll Goede. “It’s an everyday essential for all of our customers. “

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company realizing it’s role in providing a critical service.

“Firefighters, EMT’s, police officers, food service,” said Taylor. “All the above use water.”

A senior manager of operations with the company said he’s proud of the work local men and women continue to do all in the face of the coronavirus.

“If we go unnoticed, we’re doing a great job and I think we have gone unnoticed,” said Eric Larson. “A downfall to that is a failure maybe to recognize our team that’s going out there every day, kind of in a sense, risking themselves, but to ensure that all of the other things are successful. Sanitation, fire fighting, and it’s because our team is doing what they do every day.”

In March, American Water voluntarily placed a moratorium on customer accounts to prevent shut off for non-payment and late fees for late payments. The company also reinstated service for customers who were previously shut off for nonpayment. An Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) order approved in June allows for the reinstatement of utility procedures for nonpayment and late payments at the end of July. Illinois American Water is holding off on reinstating these procedures until September. This means a customer with an unresolved past due balance would see a late fee applied to their August service(s). This bill would be issued in September.

Illinois American Water is reminding customers of the company’s customer assistance program H2O Help to Others and available payment plans. Customers who are behind in payment are encouraged to call 800-422-2782 to discuss options.

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