From time to time, the Public Works Department must issue a boil order notice to residents and other water customers to ensure their health and safety when the system pressure drops below 20 psi in our distribution system. Under almost all circumstances, these orders are localized to a specific area and just a precautionary measure following work on a water main. However, in rare cases, a condition may arise which requires a larger boil order. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding these boil orders for those customers who may be impacted:
What is a boil order?
A boil order is simply a notice that customers should boil their water being used for culinary or drinking purposes for five minutes prior to use in order to prevent possible exposure to some sort of contaminate. In almost all cases, water can continued to be used for other purposes (such as bathing, washing clothes or gardening) without needing to boil the water.
Why is a boil order issued?
Boil orders can be issued for any number of reasons. In Morrison, the most common reason is that nearby work on a water main required that the water be temporarily shut down, which could allow for a contaminate to enter the pipe. In an extraordinary event, a larger order may be issued if the City’s water system loses pressure or a contaminate is discovered that requires a boil order. These are designed to give customers a precautionary notice about their water and the tools necessarily to continue to use water while being safe.
How is a boil order lifted?
Depending on the circumstances, specific steps will be taken by the City of Morrison:
- Restore system pressure as soon as possible.
- Increase the chlorine to the system. Chlorine will kill any bacteria, which might have entered the system.
- Notify the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Whiteside County Health Department of what has happened and what we intend to do about it.
- Flush hydrants in effected area (s).
- Collect microbiological samples in the area (s). These samples are taken to an IEPA certified lab in Dixon, IL. When the samples arrive at the lab, a technician prepares the samples, inserts them into an incubator for 24 hours. If any coliform bacteria are in the sample after 24 hours, they will be visible to the naked eye. If any bacteria are present at this time, the sample is rejected. If any one of the samples is rejected, we are then required to collect two consecutive sets of samples, 24 hours apart, from the same locations until satisfactory results are achieved.
- Test chlorine residuals periodically in effected area (s). If bacteria has entered the system, the chlorine will diminish.
- When satisfactory results are returned from the lab, we notify all local media and the Health Department that we have lifted the boil order. We will also send copies of the boil order along with the lab results to the IEPA.
How will customers be notified about a boil order?
If only a few blocks are affected, we will hand deliver notices. If a large area is effected, a fax copy of the boil order is sent to all local media (Radio, Websites, and Television Stations).
How will customers be notified when a boil order is lifted?
Notification regarding when a boil order has been lifted will be done in the same manner as the original notification.
What should I do following a boil order?
Customers may want to flush their home’s piping by letting a faucet flow for a few minutes. However, in most cases, as the order was precautionary, no special actions need to be taken. If additional steps are necessary, instructions will be issued with the notice to lift the order. 7. If I have further questions, who should I contact? For generalized questions, please contact the Superintendent of Public Services at (815) 772-7657.