BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX/News release) — Due to frigid temperatures on Illinois American Water’s Metro East District’s production and distribution systems, a boil order has been issued for the area — customers need to boil water for drinking and cooking. Customers are also required to conserve water use.
According to Karen Cooper, senior manager of field operations and production, the continuous cold weather has caused an increase in water main breaks, resulting in a loss of pressure across Illinois American Water’s distribution system.
These are the impacted communities:
- East St. Louis
- Fairmont City
- Washington Park
- Cahokia (from Commonfields of Cahokia PWD)
- Canteen Township
- St. Clair Township
- Stookey Township
- Smithton Township
Also, Sale-for-resale customers (wholesale) include:
- Scott Air Force Base
- O’Fallon (O’Fallon provides water to Fairview Heights)
- Metro-East Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District & City of Columbia)
Granite City and Alton are NOT impacted.
Customers should follow the below instructions. The affected area for Illinois American Water customers can be viewed here.
Boil Water Order
Customers should bring their water to a rolling boil for 5 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. Water is OK for bathing, washing and other common uses.
The boil water order is being issued in accordance with Illinois EPA regulations. Anytime water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch in any part of a community’s distribution system, a boil order must be issued as a precaution to protect customers.
Customers in the Metro East service area are also required to conserve water and to restrict all non-essential water use until further notice. Customers should refrain from non-critical uses like running dishwashers and washing machines at this time.
Water Treatment Change
The water quality team is switching treatment to a form of chlorine known as “free chlorine,” which does not contain ammonia. Illinois American Water has used this stronger disinfectant in the past and made a similar, temporary switch in the fall while flushing water mains and fire hydrants.
Chlorine is commonly used in public water systems as a disinfectant and is monitored closely by our water quality professionals. During the temporary treatment change, customers may experience a more noticeable chlorine taste or odor in their water. There is no reason for concern. This is due to the switch in chlorine types.
Institutions with additional water purification filters for special needs, for instance Hospitals and Dialysis Centers, have been contacted about this work and are aware of the treatment change. If a customer has a health care or home health care need that requires purified or filtered water, they should reach out to their healthcare provider with any questions.
Illinois American Water customers are being notified of this impact to their water service via media outreach, customer calls and website alerts at illinoisamwater.com. Information is also provided to our customer service center representatives. Notification will be completed in the same manner should additional action be required as well as when the boil water order is lifted and when the conservation requirement is lifted. We will also notify when we change our treatment process back.
Wholesale customers are also affected. They have been notified and are contacting their customers.