ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KTVI)-The cities of St. Peters and St. Charles are under an emergency mandatory water conservation order for both commercial and residential users. A precautionary water boil order has also been issued.
There has been large water main break in the secondary water supply line from St. Louis that serves both the St. Peters and St. Charles. About half the water supply for the two cities comes from St. Louis. The other half is supplied by local wells.
For residents living near the break, it was frightening.
"I had heard a big noise like an explosion. It sounded like an explosion," Shirley Seeba of Avon Place said. "Got the sewer bill and the water bill, we didn’t know where the water was coming from. It was gushing. Oh my Goodness, it was horrible. It was like Niagra Falls."
Crews are working around the clock to repair the line, but it's taking time, largely because of where the break occurred.
"It’s off the side of a cliff, a hill," Bill Malach from the city of St. Peters told us. "So initially we had to dig down to the mane, to dig it up. Then during the process of excavation, we had to dig into bedrock to put in the replacement parts."
It's a process he says will likely take crews through the weekend, possibly into Monday.
During this situation, St. Peters and St. Charles water customers should only use only boiled water for drinking, brushing teeth, and all food preparation. Activities like lawn watering and car washing are prohibited. City officials say they will be actively enforcing the water usage ban.
This order is in effect for St. Charles and St. Peters specifically, about 130,000 customers. If you live just outside those city limits but receive water service from those cities, you should also observe the water use order. Other communities in St. Charles County are not affected.
Boil order instructions:
1. Boil water vigorously for three minutes prior to use. Use only boiled water for drinking, brushing teeth, diluting fruit juices and all other food preparation or consumption. Use of bottled water may be a feasible, though relatively expensive, alternative to boiling tap water when under a boil water order.
2. Do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker or use any ice made with unboiled water from this system. Remake ice cubes with water that has been boiled or buy ice.
3. Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
4. Let water cool sufficiently before drinking.
Water used for hand-washing or bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing or using backyard pools so water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.