CHICAGO — A 24-hour boil order is in effect Thursday for thousands of people in the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods after a power problem at a water pumping station knocked out water service to the Far South Side neighborhoods, city officials said.
City officials said a “power outage” caused a loss of water pressure between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at the 110-year-old Roseland Pumping Station, potentially allowing bacteria to contaminate water mains.
Andrea Cheng, the city’s acting commissioner of the Department of Water Management, blamed the outage on ComEd maintenance in the area and pledged a full investigation.
Water service and pressure has been restored — but officials are warning people to boil their water to kill off any bacteria while water tests are being conducted Thursday. Those tests, which look for bacteria growth, take about 24 hours. The city said residents will be notified when the tests are returned.
The boundaries of the boil order are: east of Sacramento Avenue, north of 119th Street, west of I-57 and southwest of Beverly Avenue.
Anyone with questions, including to see if they are impacted, is urged to call the city’s water quality office at (312) 744-8190.
If you live within the boundaries of the boil order, here’s what you should before consuming tap water:
- Bring water to a full, rolling boil for at least 5 minutes to ensure it’s safe to consume
- Store boiled water at room temperature or refrigerated in a closed container until needed
The boiled water should be used for drinking, making ice cubes, washing foods, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making baby formula, or any other activity involving the consumption of water.
“We haven’t found anything within the water,” Cheng said. “It’s really an abundance of caution that we issue this.”
Rich Negrin, vice president of external affairs for ComEd, said at a joint news conference with city officials the routine maintenance work was not being done at the pumping station, 347 W. 104th St., but it somehow impacted the facility.
Negrin disputed the problem was caused by a “power outage,” saying all four power lines headed into the pumping station remained fully charged.
“The question is whether some of the maintenance that occurred had an impact on some of the city’s equipment,” Negrin said. “We responded immediately to make sure and try to investigate what was going on in terms of the fluid situation as it evolves…we’ll figure out what this issue is and obviously offer whatever assistance we can to make sure everything is repaired.”
Cheng said “the age of the pumping facility is irrelevant,” saying the pumps undergo routine maintenance.
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) said thousands in his ward were impacted. He told the Tribune at least 20 schools had no water at one point Thursday morning.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications will be supplementing water management’s messaging through emergency alert texts, a wireless emergency alert, reverse 911, social media, and other avenues to keep residents updated.
Here is the Water Department’s press conference:
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