A water main break that sent water, rocks and mud cascading into two Belleville residents’ back yard also prompted a boil order that’s in effect throughout Friday and the early hours of Saturday for parts of Belleville, Swansea, Fairview Heights and Shiloh.
The break occurred shortly after 6 p.m. in a 24-inch transmission main beneath a hydrant on Illinois 161 at Dutch Hollow Road. Gushing water shot high into the air before cutting a deep trench in the earth, bee lining downward toward Mike Hume and Ruth Mayo’s back yard.
Illinois American Water, in an automated call to customers Thursday night, said the boil order would be in effect for 36 hours.
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The water brought with it tons of mud and rocks. At one point, before Illinois American Water crews arrived to slow the flow of water, the water was knee high. It washed all the sand away from beneath Hume’s above-ground pool.
Mayo said she called 911 shortly after 6 p.m. She said the water was gushing loudly from the burst main.
“I kept thinking it was going to get into the house,” Mayo said. “I was like, ‘What are we supposed to do now?’”
She said Hume had worked all last summer to level the back yard.
“I’m not getting out here with a shovel to fix it,” Hume said.
Illinois American Water issued automated calls to warn customers of the boil order. In a statement, the utility said it was unclear how many customers were affected by the break. Residents affected will be notified when the boil order is lifted sometime Saturday morning.
The utility said water is fine for bathing and washing. Water to be used for drinking or cooking should first be brought to a rolling boil for five minutes.