By Bob Uphues
North Riverside officials announced Thursday morning that a boil order given after a major water main break on Aug. 16 has been lifted. Residents throughout the village are now free to drink and use water for culinary purposes without boiling it first, Public Works Director Tim Kutt announced at about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Two water samples sent to a laboratory after the water main break have come back clear, Kutt said, prompting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the boil order.
The boil order had been effect since about 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 16, when the village discovered a large break in the 8-inch water main that runs along Cermak Road at 7th Avenue.
About an hour earlier, North Riverside officials began receiving calls from residents on the west end of town that water pressure had dropped sharply. It took a while for public works crews to pinpoint the exact location of the break by inspecting sewer flows between First and 9th avenues.
It took more than three hours for public works crews to repair about a 10-foot section of water main along Cermak Road. To get to that pipe, workers had to cut through about three feet of concrete and asphalt roadway.
Eastbound Cermak Road was limited to one lane while the repair was being made, making typically heavy rush-hour traffic worse.
Workers also discovered that the water main break had also resulted in a 3- to 5-foot section of sewer line failing in that same area. The water from the main was flowing directly into that sewer line at a rate of more than 600 gallons per minute, according to Kutt. After the water main was repaired, workers repaired the sewer line.
Throughout the process to repair the water main, the village worked to maintain water pressure in the system, Kutt said.
"We were confident the test results would going to be fine," Kutt said of decision to issue the boil order. "But I'm not going to take a chance. It was a huge break. There was no need to risk people getting sick."
North Riverside sent its post-repair water sample to the IEPA on Wednesday morning. It typically takes about 18 hours to get results back, according to Kutt.