A boil order put in place for the entire city of Jacksonville has been lifted.
The order was enacted early yesterday following an enormous loss of water from a water main near the water treatment facilities early Tuesday morning. City and county officials stressed that a boil order remains in effect for several satellite water customers, and the request to conserve water is still being made.
Originally, the plan was to lift the boil order Thursday at noon, but Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says things progressed ahead of schedule.
“Due to the overwhelming support of the community and following the water conservation guidelines, we have had the ability to gain ground on the ten hours that the water system was offline,” says Ezard.
“However, it is imperative that the community continue to conserve the water in order to allow the system to recover the impact of a major water main break, and the currently abnormally dry conditions.”
Ezard says that means no using water to water lawns, wash cars, decks, houses, sidewalks, garages or filling up or topping off pools or hot tubs.
Plus, a county-wide burn ban is still in place. Officials say they’re leaving all that up at this time because of a combination of the water shortage and abnormally dry conditions in West Central Illinois.
Morgan County Health Department Director Dale Bainter says Jacksonville water customers have to take some steps before they can use water again.
“Running any old water out of your lines, purging that system, throwing away any ice that was made with the water previously, and clean and sanitize your sinks,” says Bainter. “While this is a precautionary boil order, we still want to be safe, make sure we don’t have any adverse effects to it.”
Instructions for what to do after a boil order ends can be found by clicking here.
The satellite customers still affected by the boil order are the Scott-Morgan-Greene Water Co-op, the Alexander Rural Water District, and the Murrayville-Woodson Water Commission. Morgan County Emergency Services Coordinator Phil McCarty explains why they’re on still on the boil order.
“It’s a matter of physics, because the city is the host system, and the water has to push its way out to the satellites, so it’s just a matter of physics. It takes time for the water to push its way out,” McCarty says.
That is expected to last 24 to 36 hours.
McCarty says in the early morning hours yesterday, there was a very limited number of people living near the water plant who didn’t have any water. He says workers were able to restore water pressure within a short amount of time of the water main break.
“There may have been some people that had low pressure, maybe not what they’re consistently used to across the city, but we were able to correct the pressure problem within six hours, almost back to normal. So, everybody’s had water. We have not shut anybody off, we will not shut anybody off. Everybody should have water. If they don’t have water, they need to contact the numbers posted on the website to get that corrected,” says McCarty.
The City of Jacksonville and Morgan County ESDA plan to release one final update tomorrow morning.