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Quincy Veterans' Home Gets Emergency Funding For Water System Upgrades


Illinois is using emergency spending rules to upgrade the water system at the veterans’ home in Quincy. Outbreaks of the waterborne Legionnaires’ Disease have killed and sickened dozens of residents and staff.

Calling the current water system a “danger to public health,” the Department of Veterans' Affairs is buying $650,000 worth of new water filters, faucets, and bacteria monitoring equipment.

By declaring the purchases “emergencies,” the state is bypassing normal spending safeguards, which can add months of public scrutiny.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration had defended what they called “quick” action they had taken previously to prevent infections.

Those measures, however, did not prevent an outbreak this year. Altogether, 13 residents have died and more than 60 others have been sickened by the waterborne illness.

The Rauner administration says it eventually will demolish and rebuild the dorms where the outbreaks occurred, but that could take up to five years.  

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
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