By TESA GLASS
BENTON — —
All customers, water districts and municipalities served by Rend Lake Conservancy District are under a boil-water order that may last until Thursday.
“At 3 p.m. (Monday), there was a water main break east of the water plant,” RLCD Assistant Manager Larry Sanders explained. “It was a line that serves everyone in Southern Illinois.”
Sanders said the break was near construction and is considered accidental.
“This is an original water line, and there is construction going on nearby,” Sanders said. “We don’t believe there is an integrity problem with the line, it’s just an accident.”
Sanders said the line coming from the water plant is approaching 50 years of age, but the district checks it for wear on a regular basis.
Sanders said crews were nearby and by 6 p.m. Monday, the line was fixed.
“We had the crews near the site, all the materials and labor and the know-how we needed to act quickly,” Sanders said. “But, due to the manner of the break, and how it was fixed, we have to protect the health of everyone on our system, which is why the boil-order has been issued.”
The first sample of water from the line was taken Monday night and takes 24 hours to analyze at the lab, Sanders said. A second required sample was taken on Tuesday afternoon and taken to the lab.
“If both come back clean, we will no longer be under a boil-order,” Sanders said. “We believe they will come back fine, we acted very quickly on fixing the line. ... We hope the boil order will be lifted sooner than Thursday, but we don’t think it will be any longer than Thursday. Right now, there’s nothing the district can do, we’re just waiting on the lab.”
Sanders said once the lab gives the go-ahead, notification of the boil order lift will be given to all RLCD customers.
“For those who distribute to other municipalities, they have their own testing to complete and they will notify their customers of the lift,” Sanders said.
During the boil order, local restaurants and convenience stores have been making alternative plans for coffee, tea and fountain drinks. The Jefferson County Health Department issued a reminder for food establishments they are required to use potable water from an approved source such as a tank truck or potable bottled water for all water usage. Approved water sources must be used for coffee, tea other beverages made in the food establishments, direct feed coffee urns plumbed directly into the water system, post-mix soda or beverage machines, ice machines that manufacture ice on site, washing produce or thawing frozen foods, employee hand washing, all water used in three compartment sinks, washing all dishes and cooking utensils and all water for sanitizing solutions.
“If it is not possible to obtain potable water from tank trucks or bottled potable water and if a heat source is available, boil the water vigorously for three minutes,” information from the health department states.