Southern Illinois communities can now use water freely after wat - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southern Illinois communities can now use water freely after water main break

City of Christopher and Red Cross pass out water to those in the city that are in need. (Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS) City of Christopher and Red Cross pass out water to those in the city that are in need. (Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS)
Rauner in southern Illinois talking to mayors (Source: KFVS) Rauner in southern Illinois talking to mayors (Source: KFVS)
Pumps are shut down after a 36-inch steel water line break at Rend Lake. (Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS) Pumps are shut down after a 36-inch steel water line break at Rend Lake. (Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS)
Residents are being to asked to conserve water due to a major water line break (Source: Chris Drury, KFVS) Residents are being to asked to conserve water due to a major water line break (Source: Chris Drury, KFVS)
Inter-City Water distribution system extends into seven counties of southern Illinois (Source: KFVS) Inter-City Water distribution system extends into seven counties of southern Illinois (Source: KFVS)
ILLINOIS (KFVS) -

As of Friday morning, May 18, the 36-inch main line repair was fixed.

According to Larry Sanders, General Counsel, Rend Lake Conservancy District, communities are not being asked to conserve water anymore. Feel free to do laundry, wash dishes and take a shower.

As of 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, all water samples came back satisfactory. The towns and water districts may now draw their samples and submit for testing. Full water capacity is anticipated by Monday morning.

Many boil water orders in the district are still in effect until further notice.

Governor Bruce Rauner issued a disaster proclamation for nine counties impacted by the Rend Lake Conservancy District water main break. State support for affected communities will continue until all water supply issues are resolved. Counties affected include: Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Saline, Washington, White and Williamson.

 Rauner met with southern Illinois mayors impacted by the water main break. He was in Marion at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, and then toured the Rend Lake Conservancy Water District in Benton at 3:30 p.m.

“We’re encouraged that water is now flowing through the system,” Gov. Rauner said. “We’ve arranged for several truckloads of water to be delivered to the area today. We will continue to support the local officials in whatever way we can until everyone has good, safe water flowing again.”

According to the Rend Lake Conservancy District, at 8:30 a.m., the Intercity Water Plant was pumping water into the system with two high service pumps. The lake intake and the treatment plant were returned to service.

The system will be on a boil water order until Intercity Water receives test results showing that the water is safe to drink.

According to the district, towns and water districts may only collect their samples after Intercity receives a report showing the water is safe to use. Intercity Water will draw samples on Saturday.

Intercity Water will get the results on Sunday after 2 p.m. Because of the complete shutdown and the emptying of pipes and tanks, the sediment will be disturbed.

The district warns there will be an increased possibility of the air and floating copper and lead in the lines.

Water customers will need to remove aerators from faucets or use supplies without aerators, like tubs, to flush the lines. This means let the water run for a couple of minutes before collecting water to be boiled and then cooled for consumption.

Towns and water districts may not see the levels of their tanks rise until noon.

District ground storage tanks are currently being filled. Booster pumps will be used to fill the tanks of the towns and water districts.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was briefed on the situation several times on Thursday, May 17 and issued the following statement:

“The Rend Lake Water Conservancy District, which supplies water to more than 175,000 people in southern Illinois, experienced a major water main break late yesterday afternoon. Efforts by the district to repair the break are on-going at this time. While there currently have been no requests for state assistance, state agencies are actively preparing to provide support needed to ensure the public health and safety of the many communities served by the district.

“Earlier today the Illinois Emergency Management Agency convened a conference call with several state agencies and mutual aid partners to assess the whole community impacts of situation and prepare for potential deployment of state resources t0 impacted communities until the water supply is restored.

“Our primary concern is the well-being of the people affected by this situation. I want to assure everyone affected that the State of Illinois will do everything in our power to ensure public health and safety is protected until this situation is resolved.”

Inter-City Water distribution system extends into seven counties of southern Illinois. According to the district, the plant produces 27 million gallons of water per day. Thirty-five towns and water districts buy wholesale water for distribution to their customers. Another 1,200 retail customers also receive their water from Inter-City Water.

Some of the counties included Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Perry and Williamson.

Click here for boil water orders issued

Franklin County

The burn ban was lifted on Sunday, May 20.

A Public Health Notice & Instructions for Consumers:  The system will be on a boil water order until Intercity Water receives test results showing that the water is safe to drink.  Because of the complete shutdown and the emptying of pipes and tanks, the sediment will be disturbed. There will be an increased possibility of the incidence of air and floating copper and lead in the lines. Please to remove aerators from faucets or to use faucets without aerators, like tubs, to flush the lines. This simply means to let the water run for a couple of minutes before collecting water to be boiled and then cooled for consumption. 

Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department Reminders: 

  • Run your dishwasher empty; do this for three dishwashing cycles for maximum benefit 
  • Dispose of ice in ice makers until you are sure it's safe to use all ice in ice machines 
  • Flush all in-line water filters used in for water consumption, cooking or dishwashing 
  • Vigorously boil water and adhere to the length of time recommended in the boil order. 


According to the Franklin County EMA on Friday, a boil water order will remain in effect in the county until further notice. They say the water main by-pass is completed. Contractors installed the last fittings at 2 a.m. The plant energized one pump at 3 a.m. starting the flow of treated water through the HDPE above ground by-pass into the system. Soon, water was being drawn from Rend Lake to start the treatment process.

The Franklin County School District posted an updated end-of-year events calendar. Due to the water main break, they had to make up a day.

The Zeigler Water Dist. issued a boil water order on Friday, May 18. It is in effect until further notice for the entire city.

Ameren Illinois would like to encourage Franklin County residents and businesses impacted by the water outage to turn off their natural gas or electric water heater until their water supply has been restored.

Water Distribution Centers have been set up at select locations within Franklin County. Franklin County Residents who are experiencing a water outage in their home can visit these locations to pick up bottled water.

The following locations are now open and ready to service citizens:

  • Seasons Resort: 12575 Golf Course Dr, Whittington, IL 62897
  • Civic Center Christopher: 208 N. Thomas St. Christopher, IL 62822
  • West City Street Department: 400 Block of South Central Street West City, IL 62812
  • Royalton City Hall: 311 S. Main St. Royalton, IL 62983

Free water to all of Franklin County residents at the West City Street Department across from the Village Hall/Fire Station. Please bring ID.

Sesser police officers will be performing welfare checks on elderly and the disabled. They have a list but if you are in need of anything or know of anyone please contact Sesser city hall at 625-3611 after hours 724-2424 hit 0.

All water-borne facilities at Rend Lake managed by the Corps of Engineers, such as restrooms and shower houses, opened on Friday, May 18. The facilities will remain under a boil water order until further notice.

The Rend Lake openings included all the restrooms and shower houses in the four Corps-managed campgrounds: South Marcum, Gun Creek, North Sandusky and South Sandusky. Full fees were re-instated starting on  Friday, May 18.

All areas including South Sandusky Day Use/Beach and North Marcum Day Use planned to open on Friday, May 18 are now open. These areas will have restrooms available. It is suggested that visitors bring drinking water with them until the boil water order is lifted.

According to the Corps of Engineers, a total burn ban will remain in effect on all Rend Lake project lands until further notice. All outdoor fires, including campfires and grills, are not allowed until the burn ban is lifted.

A boil water order has been issued for all West City residents on Thursday, May 17.

Franklin County residents are encouraged to boil water until further notice.

The City of Christopher Mayor's Office has advised emergency management that the city will be suspending water service at 1 p.m.

John A. Logan College released a statement on Facebook saying the school will be closing at 10 a.m. on Thursday due to the break. All activities including the Du Quoin and West Frankfort Ext. Centers and the CHEC building are canceled for the remainder of the day according to the school.

Franklin County EMA has issued a ban on all burning until further notice due to the ongoing issues with the water system. The burn ban will be lifted once the water issues are resolved.

Hamilton County

As of 6 a.m. on Friday, May 18 the Hamilton County Courthouse was closed due to a shortage of water. The sheriff's office is open.

All Hamilton County Water District customers and the villages of Springerton, Mill Shoals and Enfield will have a boil water advisory beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday.

According to Water District General Manager Dale Biggerstaff all Hamilton Co. Water District customers were asked to stop unnecessary water use as of 2 p.m. on May 17. 

Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency asks residents to delay laundry and other household chores involving water until service has been restored.

Jackson County

Southern Illinois residents affected by a water shortage were welcome to visit the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Recreation Center to take advantage of its shower facilities. SIU Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno invited affected residents to use the shower facilities at the recreation center until the issue is resolved. The center was open from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The City of Carbondale released a statement saying its residents are not affected by the break but residents in surrounding communities were welcome to use a bulk fill station in the city. The fill station was at the Water Treatment Plant according to city officials. 

Jefferson County

Walgreens Distribution Center, American Water Contract Services, Pepsi Mid-America, & Mountain Valley Water provided drinking water to help Mt. Vernon through this extended boil water order. 

The Mount Vernon IDES office, located at 333 Potomac Blvd., was open on Friday, May 18 as service from Rend Lake Water Conservancy has been restored.

Distribution resumed at 9 a.m. May 18 morning at Veteran's Park.

The City of Mt. Vernon gave out bottled drinking water to Mt. Vernon residents at Veteran's Park Rolland Lewis Community Building.

Mayor Lewis has declared the State of Emergency for the City of Mt. Vernon due to loss of water.

Residents north of Broadway from 20th Street to 12th Street and north to Oakland Avenue are under a boil water order effective immediately.

Rend Lake College closed early on Thursday due to the water shortage.

Perry County

The City of Du Quoin gave out free bottled water for all affected water customers of Du Quoin and Greenwood Creek-Nation Water on Saturday, May 19. 

The City of Du Quoin's water distribution status was still critical, as of 10 a.m. on Friday, May 18. Customer water usage exceeded their ability to maintain useable levels. The city's water supply was the size of a residential swimming pool. City crews continued to fill the reserve tank with new water sources provided by and from the cities of Pinckneyville and Tamaroa water supplies.

Du Quoin declared a "state of disaster" at the recommendation of Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Clark.

Pinckneyville Community High School students living in the parts of the district impacted by the water shortage problems were able to use the locker room shower facilities school on Friday, May 18 if needed. 

A boil order has been issued for all Greenwood Creek-Nation Water Company customers until further notice. Customers are also asked to take necessary actions to conserve water until further notice.

The City of Du Quoin is under a boil order effective at 3 p.m. on May 17. Please continue to conserve water, according to the water department. 

The city of Du Quoin issued a burn ban on all open burning until further notice. The ban includes the Village of St. Johns and rural residents receiving fire protection from the city fire department. The ban will be lifted once water issues are resolved. 

Union County

Anna's city-wide boil water order has been lifted on Sunday, May 20.

Williamson County

As of 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, Carterville's water system level is almost back to normal.

State Representative David Severin (R-Benton) secured a donation of 22 pallets of bottled water from CVS Health. Each of the 22 pallets contains 84 cases of bottled water. The water was delivered Saturday, May 19 to John A. Logan College and Johnston City High School. 

All restaurants, hotels, bars, and hair salons in Marion were ordered to close at 3 p.m. Thursday but are now open as of Friday, May 18 at 4 p.m.

A boil water order for the city of Carterville, Il was lifted on Monday, May 21.

The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency WCEMA and the City of Johnston City announce that bottled drinking water was available for distribution to the public at the Johnston City High School. WCEMA has arranged for this water to be delivered to Williamson County through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Salvation Army. The water was available on the north parking lot of the Johnston City High School (between the building and the football field). Enter the parking lot from Adams Street on the West side of the lot.  Volunteers were present to load water into vehicles. 

The Southern Illinois Miners game on Friday was postponed to Saturday due to the ongoing water concerns. You can click here for more information.

The Mayor of Marion, Illinois updated everyone on the "water crisis" on Friday. You can click here to watch or watch below.

The Big Muddy and Egyptian Districts of the Boy Scouts of America organized a bottled water drive. They asked that donations of sealed bottled water please be delivered to the Herrin Service Center.

A boil water order for all Herrin water customers was lifted on May 21. 

According to Marion Mayor Anthony Rinella, the City of Marion Water Plant shut off their pumps around 4:15 p.m. on Thursday. The only available water remaining in the city was in its elevated storage tanks. There was an estimated two to four hours worth of water left to supply the city.

Graduation was at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Rent One Park. There were portable toilets for attendees to use. 

"It's going to happen, it's just going to be a little inconvenient graduation ceremony this year," said Rinella. Grads will celebrate at the Carbondale Rec Center after the graduation ceremony so that post-grad celebration will not be affected. Info on graduation here. "It's a big night for people to go out and eat before the graduation ceremony so we'll definitely be impacted by that," said Rinella. 

Due to the water crisis, there will not be visitation at the Williamson County Jail on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19.

The Johnston City City Hall has a limited amount of bottled water that can go to the elderly or infants in need of water.

Johnston City police asked residents not to wash clothes, dishes or use extra water in any way. Officials said they were hoping to conserve water for emergency use. Classes at K-8 schools dismissed at 1:50 p.m. and the high school dismissed at 2 p.m.

Herrin High School dismissed at 2:08 p.m. due to the break. City officials said the area had 16 hours of water remaining in reserve under restricted use guidelines.

The city of Marion, Illinois issued a burn ban until further notice. The city closed all hotels, restaurants, hair salons, bakeries and bars at 3 p.m.

The Carterville Fire Department issued a burn ban until further notice due to the main line water break.

Williamson County residents serviced by Rend Lake should conserve water until further notice due to water line break, according to Emergency Management.

The mayor of Marion said all car washes have been closed until further notice and citizens are asked not to fill swimming pools, water lawns or wash extra laundry.

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