GLEN CARBON, IL (KPLR) – The Madison County, Illinois community of Glen Carbon remained under a "boil" water order Friday after two water main breaks put the water system at risk of sediment and bacteria contamination. Some 13,000 people in the town north of Maryville have been affected.
City public works employees worked nearly two days straight to fix a major break hidden in a wooded area and then a smaller problem in a neighborhood.
The first break occurred during the Tuesday night heavy rain storm and the escaping water ran into a drainage ditch where storm runoff concealed the problem. It took workers some time to locate the break. In about ten minutes, Glen Carbon lost five hundred thousand gallons of drinking water.
The second problem involved a "plug" on the end of a residential line. It was repaired within two hours overnight Thursday.
The town gave away a case of bottled water to each household Wednesday and Thursday evenings but discontinued the give-away after the water service had been restored Friday morning...even though the water did not yet meet EPA standards for consumption.
Anyone using tap water for drinking or cooking must boil it first. The boil order is effect until further notice.
Restaurants without water service this week were told to shut down until the water pressure returned. Staff at The Wooden Nickel Pub and Grill were using paper baskets and plastic cups to serve lunch. Soda and juice was being served from bottles instead of the normal soda "gun" attached to the water system. "We're trying to focus on the positives and just trudge through it," said employee Maeze Ahlers.
Senior citizen Carl Krohne and his wife lost water completely for a time. They turned to bottled water that had been in the family refrigerator for about a year. "We made it. There have been a lot worse disasters than this," Krohne said with a smile.
Glen Carbon police chief and emergency services director John Lakin praised the citizens for their patience and the employees who worked outdoors in the cold to fix the breaks and pass out the bottled water.
"It was quite an ordeal. It still is. We're hoping it's gonna scale back a little bit now and our residents can resume some sort of normalcy," Lakin said Friday afternoon.
For further information on the water boil order call the Village hall or go to the Glen Carbon web site. http://www.glen-carbon.il.us.
On Facebook Betsey Bruce on FOX2
Twitter: Betsey Bruce