Officials expect to lift the boil order imposed on much of the metro-east by early Friday afternoon, according to a Illinois American Water spokeswoman.
In the meantime, residents are still being asked to conserve their water use, according to Karen Cotton, the external affairs manager for Illinois American Water.
“We simply ask customers to use no more than they need and to use water wisely. If they need to wash their clothes, they should wait until they have a full load, etc.,” Cotton wrote in an email Thursday morning.
Cotton said the water company’s affected customers will be notified when the order is lifted.
“Our team is collecting water samples and completing necessary water quality testing,” Cotton wrote.
The boil order was issued Wednesday for a majority of St. Clair County and parts of Monroe County after frigid temperatures broke numerous water mains.
The order covered most of the metro-east service area, including Belleville, East St. Louis, Centreville, Brooklyn, Fairmont City, O’Fallon, Fairview Heights, Sauget, Shiloh, Washington Park, Alorton, Cahokia, Swansea, Canteen Township, St. Clair Township, Stookey Township and Smithton Township.
People under the order should bring their tap water to a rolling boil for five minutes before drinking or cooking. The water can be used for bathing, washing and other common uses without boiling first.
The boil order did not include the cities of Mascoutah, Lebanon, Freeburg and Smithton.
Thursday will mark the 11th day of below-freezing temperatures throughout the area, according to St. Louis National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Britt. The area’s forecast does not call for above-freezing temperatures until Sunday.
Belleville should see a high of 16 degrees Thursday and a low of 6 degrees overnight.
Drinking water was still available Wednesday afternoon at metro-east stores such as Walmart, Schnucks, Shop ’n Save and Target.
However, Ruler Foods in Fairview Heights, the newest grocer in town, ran through most of its supply early Wednesday afternoon. An employee confirmed Thursday morning that the store still had 24-packs of water bottles; however, gallon jugs of water had sold out.
At least eight school districts canceled Thursday classes because both the cold temperatures and boil order posed challenges to operating schools.
Belleville 201 high schools will be back in session Friday, and students are encouraged to bring bottled water in case the boil order is still in effect, according to a school announcement.
Cahokia 187 and SIUE Head Start are both canceled for Friday due to the boil order.