Security Questions Raised at Chicago Water Filtration Plant

Chicago Sun-Times reports man caught trespassing, gate was malfunctioning at Jardine water filtration plant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/6/2014: The Sun-Times uncovered a series problems at the plant including the main gate malfunctioning for months and a trespasser driving into the compound by following an authorized vehicle. NBC 5's Nesita Kwan reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014)

    Security has become an issue at Chicago's Jardine water filtration plant after a number of incidents at the facility near Navy Pier.

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports that on June 13 an unauthorized person was able to get past the main vehicle checkpoint at the plant, and sources say there's been problems with the gate and been multiple other instances of trespassing.

    Water plants are considered critical infrastructure and a potential target for terrorists trying to contaminate the water supply.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the issue Wednesday, suggesting that the problems at the plant have been addressed. He noted an 18 month review gave the water treatment plant high marks.

    "They have to make sure they're doing everything the report recommended, and they all use this moment as a learning experience on what more to do we have to do to provide and make sure that Jardine and other water treatment facilities have the security apparatus around them to ensure that nothing will happen," Emanuel said.

    A spokesperson for the city's Department of Water Management issued a statement Wednesday saying "the security of Jardine has not been compromised in any way at any time, and our water plants are highly secure."

    Officials say the gate has been fixed, but noted it's "not the only security measure in place at that location. Security guards are also stationed at the entrance around the clock."

    The Environmental Protection Agency also has a dedicated water security department working with local filtration plants. The Department of Homeland Security is also involved in the effort.