Evanston officials say the city’s water plant was hit by a power failure early Sunday morning that started a fire in the building.

Utilities Director Dave Stoneback told aldermen at a City Council meeting Monday night that the problem started at 3:15 a.m. when the two lines feeding electric power to the plant from Commonwealth Edison both failed at the same time.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the incident forced the city to stop pumping water to the four Northwest Water Commission communities for about two hours, but that the commission had enough reserve supply in its reservoir that there was no interruption in service to end users.

The city was able to keep serving its Evanston and Skokie customers during the emergency.

Stoneback said the plant now is being powered by a backup natural gas generator system until repairs can be made to the switching equipment damaged by the fire.

He said the fire also burned holes in the plant’s roof which will need to be repaird.

All the damage, Stoneback said, is covered by insurance.

Bobkiewicz congratulated the staff on the quick response to the crisis.

In other Utilities Department news, the city has received its third consecutive perfect score in state testing of the performance of its water testing laboratory.

Stoneback said as far as he knows Evanston is the only water utility in the state that has received such consistent high marks.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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