Industrial fire in Carlinville leads to boil order

CARLINVILLE, Ill. – Water customers in the City of Carlinville have been under a boil order since early Sunday morning.

According to Dan Held, the city’s public works manager, the pressure in the water mains dropped below 20 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) due to a fire near the intersection of Wilson and University streets. The fire started around 4 a.m. but reignited around 2:30 p.m.

Carlinville Fire Chief Jess McKee said departments from Girard, Virden, Staunton, Litchfield, Bunker Hill, Northwestern, Auburn, Raymond, Mt. Olive, Unit 7, Farmersville-Waggoner, the Nokomis Area Fire Protection District, Medora, Witt, Gillespie, and Greenfield provided water tenders, ladder trucks or engines throughout the day to help extinguish the blaze.

No injuries were reported.

Held said the city nearly ran out of water at the local water tower because of how much water was used to fight the fire.

Having the right amount of pressure is important to ensure your home’s plumbing system and the city’s water systems function properly. There are many causes for low water pressure, including leaks, corrosion, mineral or debris build-up, and clogs.

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The boil order affects approximately 7,000 people. The order has already had an affect on the Prairie Farms location in town, as well as local nursing homes and schools.

The city will pull samples Monday morning. Held said it would take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours to get those results back, meaning the boil order will continue until Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

Residents hooked up to the city water system should use bottled or boiled water for all cooking and drinking, as well as toothbrushing. Boil all water—even if you use a filter—for at least one full minute and then allow it to cool before consuming.

Held said that in 2021, Carlinville won a lawsuit in the Illinois Supreme Court centered around its water system, allowing them to pursue a new water source. Held said that if not for that lawsuit, they may already be connected to the new source, which, in theory, would have given them much more water to pull from, potentially avoiding this boil order altogether.

As of now, Held said the city is still three to four years out from making the switch.

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