MT. VERNON, Ill. (KFVS) - The City Council in Mt. Vernon, Ill. has declared that water has been restored to all areas as Saturday, May 25, except for areas affected by the leak.
A boil water order was issued on May 25, but has been lifted.
As of Friday afternoon, May 24, the city believes the leak has been found.
The city gave an update at 9:15 p.m:
“The crews are continuing to slowly restore water to the remaining parts of the system that have been without water. They will be working through the night and we hope by morning water will be restored to all businesses and residents.”
The leak was on a remote water main north of Woodglen Acres.
Crews have begun isolating the leak and the city is watching our water pressures and towers. City staff is developing a plan at this time to restore the system.
Water will be restored immediately. Isolated areas will be systematically reinstated in order to maintain system pressure and to avoid further leaks.
Also water tower levels have to be restored in the city and surrounding communities. They have two leaks we will fix before the completion of the restoration of the system.
Due to the leak, the City of Mt. Vernon and surrounding communities are under a boil water order until further notice.
It's been a hassle for local businesses.
Tobein Cuvar owns the Diner and Bakery in Mt Vernon.
She says the water crisis is costing her money because she has to buy bottled beverages and ice.
“It makes it very difficult to where you decide was it worth staying open,” she said. “Then when I see everybody comes in and they still enjoy their meal, still enjoys their cup of coffee or their conversation whatever reason draws them in here it’s worth every penny.”
"There is frustration is all around," said Mayor John Lewis. "From every city employee, between the political end, between the consumers the taxpayers of this city and I'm amazed how everybody's come together."
Mayor Lewis says crews were checking hundreds of water valves to find the major leak which is gushing out 3,500 gallons of water every minute.
"That is two million gallons a day we are losing and you think that would show up," he said. "Usually in 24 hours that shows up to the surface. We are in day four and we have engineers from Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky."
Mayor Lewis is encouraging everyone community effected in Jefferson County to still conserve until their water towers can be refilled.
“We’re doing our best to figure out ways to get them enough water so they can start back up,” the mayor added.
City officials said on Friday, May 24 the Rend Lake Conservancy District was able to make changes inside their plant to maintain their towers, which has allowed them to continue sending 4,000 gallons of water per minute.
The 14-16 hour time clock will not start until the district can no longer sustain the current volume of water to the City of Mt. Vernon.
City officials also said the water outage has been lengthened as long as businesses and residents continue to conserve water.
As of 8:30 a.m. Friday the City said they were notified of four other leaks throughout town caused by fluctuations in water pressure due to crews looking for the major leak.
The City reports the four leaks will be repaired as soon as the major leak is isolated.
Crews worked throughout the night Thursday, but report the large leak had not been found.
They have isolated an area between 27th Street and 44th Street south of Broadway. It’s believed this the general area of the major leak. Currently this area does not have water. The City said it will be restored as soon as possible.
Crews are narrowing the search by turning off valves.
The City is not requiring businesses to close, but everyone in Mt. Vernon and surrounding communities are urged not to use any unnecessary water. This includes watering lawns/flowers, filling pools and washing cars.
Due to the water emergency, the Aquatic Zoo, a water park in Mt. Vernon, said it will not open Memorial Day weekend as planned.
Reports of low pressure started coming in out 7 a.m. on May 22.
When the water service is restored, all of the city and the water districts we serve, Waltonville, Woodlawn, Dix/Kell, Northeast, Belle-Rive, and Bluford will be under a boil water order.
According to city officials, the leak is underground and is dumping 3,500 gallons of water per minute which could be emptying into another body of water, storm water or sanitary sewer lines. More than 2.5 million gallons of water have been released.
City officials called the situation serious.
Illinois Rural Water is helping as employees search for the breach.
Officials said has responded and researched every call from residents. Updates will be posted to the City Facebook page and the City website.
The first boil water order was issued May 23 for all of Mt. Vernon. City officials said the water is safe to bathe in but must be boiled before drinking or using to cook.
Some areas of the city will remain without water as they isolate the system trying to locate the leak.
Anyone experiencing extremely low water pressure is asked to report it as (618) 232-6851.
Officials will continue to isolate areas and to determine where the leak is.
Mt. Vernon is receiving testing equipment through MABAS Division 45 to help find the leak.