BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Utility Illinois American Water issued a boil order Wednesday for tens of thousands of its customers in the Metro East.
Much of the Metro East is under a boil order right now and could be for the next day or more.
The order is impacting thousands of people and has already forced at least two school districts to cancel classes for tomorrow.
Nearly two dozen communities are impacted including Belleville, East St. Louis, Columbia, Scott Air Force Base, Shiloh, Caseyville, Millstadt, and Waterloo.
Illinois American officials say a contractor was clearing debris at the company`s water treatment plant near East St. Louis and somehow a 24-inch water main was hit.
The main broke and the water pressure dropped below the legal limit making it possible for bacteria to develop in the water. Per Illinois EPA regulations, a boil order must be issued anytime the water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch in any part of a community’s distribution system.
Customers in the affected area should bring their water to a rolling boil for five minutes before using for drinking or cooking. The water is okay for bathing, washing and other common uses.
Illinois American says the main is in the process of being fixed and everyone does have service.
But the boil order could last 24 to 36 hours while water tests are done.
Illinois American says the boil order is impacting 90,000 metered customers, that`s about 200,000 people.
Due to the boil order, classes in the Cahokia Unit School District #187 and the East St. Louis School District #189 will be canceled for Thursday, August 29.
The boil water order is in effect for the following communities directly served by Illinois American Water:
• East St. Louis
• Fairmont City
• Washington Park
• Cahokia (from Commonfields of Cahokia PWD)
• Canteen Township
• St. Clair Township
• Stookey Township
• Smithton Township
The following sale-for-resale (wholesale) communities are also affected. The communities are responsible for notifying their customers-residents regarding the boil water order:
• Scott Air Force Base
• O’Fallon (Also provides water to Fairview Heights)
• Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District
• Concordia Water District