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Thousands Affected After Water Main Break

Boil order info, nuts and bolts of the break, and a temporary detour from IDOT.
Photo 1: Water gushing out of the pavement just before noon on Monday
Photo 2: Map of the boil order in Peoria
Photo 3: Non-truck detour map from IDOT
Thousands Affected After Water Main Break

PEORIA – Thousands of Peoria residents are under a boil order until Tuesday night after a major water main break shut down a downtown intersection.

OSF St. Francis Medical Center, UnityPoint Health-Methodist, Caterpillar and Bradley University were all affected along with other businesses in the area.
At 9:15 a.m. Monday Illinois American water got the call of a water main break at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Abington Streets. Thousands of customers either lost water or had low pressure. At 10:30 a.m. the company had the main isolated. Then, at 11:00 a.m. it had restored water pressure to most of the customers in the area.

The size of the water main and its location heightened the impact of this break. It was a 30 inch main right by the heart of downtown.

"Most of the city was affected, so most of the city was either losing pressure or had lost their water service," said Karen Cotton, a spokeswoman for Illinois American Water.

Water gushed all over the road as crews tried to make repairs.

"It is quite a large main it's a transition main so it will take some time," Cotton said.

The break also buckled the road. Illinois American Water is responsible for pavement repairs.

"The city was out there this morning as we were so will be working with them, but like normal on any break we'll do the repair we'll fix it better than it was before hand," said Roger Goodson, operatations superintendent for the company’s Peoria district.

Goodson said it's too cold right now to pour concrete. Crews will have to make a temporary repair until the weather warms up. Once the main is fixed, Illinois American Water will try to pinpoint what caused the break.

"With our infrastructure being underground it's very hard to identify a main cause of the main break there's a number of things that play into a main break it could be the condition of the main the age of the main and it also could have a lot to do with the weather, Cotton said.

A boil order means you need to bring your water to a rolling boil for five minutes before you drink it or use it to cook. The water is safe for bathing and washing clothes. The boil order is in effect until 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announces an update to the detour for southbound IL 29 traffic, due to a water main break on IL 29 (Jefferson Street) at the intersection of Abington Street in Peoria.

For Monday night and a portion of Tuesday, southbound IL 29 traffic traveling toward Peoria from the north will be detoured to the McClugage Bridge (US 150), to IL 116 in East Peoria.

Starting Tuesday, likely mid-day, non-truck traffic on southbound IL 29 (Jefferson Street) in Peoria will take Jefferson Street, to Van Buren Street, to Adams Street, to Hayward Street, back to Jefferson Street. The portion of Adams Street from Hayward to Van Buren will be temporarily converted into two-way traffic separated by barrels during this time.
Illinois American Water crews are working to repair the pavement at the location of the water main break. The repair work is expected to take at least one week to complete, possibly longer. The company’s crews say the cold this winter is causing the deepest frost they've seen in 20 years. That means your pipes at home could be affected.
Here are some tips from Illinois American Water:

  • If pipes are in an area that makes them vulnerable to the cold, consider allowing a small trickle of water from both your cold and hot water faucets to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures.
If your pipes freeze:
  • Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to the pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
To further help protect your pipes in cold winter weather; keep these helpful tips in mind.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
  • Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Consider wrapping pipes with electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers' instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house, with caulking to keep cold winds away from pipes.
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
  • Make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are disconnected and drained.
  • Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze. If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water to prevent the possibility of frozen pipes.
Set the thermostat at 55 degrees if you're going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes.
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