A disruption in an industrial supply line was the cause of an unusually large cooking order placed in Jacksonville on Thanksgiving Day.
Jacksonville’s water treatment plant began receiving reports of low water pressure west of the city around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. According to Public Works Superintendent Ricky Hearin, around the same time, water company workers noticed a sudden increase in water usage, which meant a break had occurred somewhere in the system.
According to Hearin, it was clear from the amount of water consumed that this was not your average major water break. “It was getting worse and we were losing a lot of water from the veterans [Park] Tower, it fell pretty fast. We had to fetch water from the lake and heat up the water system quite a bit to keep up with it and we were still losing water.
At the time we had people driving the streets checking ditches and other things looking for water to find this break. Turns out we found it behind the Nestlé building, and it was their line of fire that broke. That’s a 10 inch main feeder so all of our water went out on the field out there.”
The Jacksonville Water Works uses water from the Illinois River that is pumped from a station near Naples. Lake Mauvaisterre serves as an emergency power supply for the facility.
Hearing says the average water main that supplies Jacksonville neighborhoods is between four and six inches in diameter compared to the 10-inch main that ruptured Thursday morning. According to Hearin, once the break was located, Nestlé’s maintenance staff were able to shut down the line and the water company could start pressurizing the system again.
Hearin says because the pressure dropped to such a low level, state regulations required a boil order to be issued. “None of our systems broke, it was out there on Nestlé’s fire line, so our pipes are still intact. But we still released enough pressure that sometimes they say the stuff can suck into your water lines. So having a boil command to make sure everything is safe is just a good precaution.”
Hearin says the boiling ordinance, which covers much of the southwestern part of the city, will likely be in effect by early next week. He says the EPA lab is closed until Monday, so water samples from the system cannot be collected and shipped until then.
Hearin hopes results will be available sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday that will allow the order to be lifted. But for now, residents of the affected area are being asked to boil all water used for cooking and drinking.
He says the water system has returned to normal operating levels as of this morning and there are currently no water use restrictions.
We will update you on the status of the cook order as soon as these become available.
The following locations are now in boil-off order until further notice (SEE MAP): beginning on the north side of West Morton Avenue to West Lafayette Avenue between South Westgate Avenue and Illinois Route 104; including all residences on South Westgate through the South Grand between Mound Road and West Lafayette Avenue.