Water main break repaired; tests continue

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The boil-water advisory remains in effect through 5 p.m. today for an estimated 12,000 residents in the city of Cape Girardeau.

Anyone living between the city's southern border and Bertling Street, southeast of Cape Rock Drive and east of Kingshighway must follow the boil-water order. Businesses on either side of Kingshighway are not affected by the order.

The 12-inch water main broke Friday morning and was completely repaired by 8 p.m. Friday, according to Kevin Priester, manager for Alliance Water, which operates the city's water service.

The water must be tested for two days. He said a Jackson lab is testing water samples for coliform bacteria. He said a high level of coliform would indicate the presence of other hazardous bacteria, such as E. coli, in the water.

"So far, we've had good chlorine readings everywhere. I'm optimistic the tests will be OK," he said Saturday afternoon.

If not, his teams will extend the boil-water orders, flush the water system again and take fresh samples for testing.

Priester said an extra worker was assigned to the city's water plant to handle phone calls from concerned residents.

Following the order

Household water used for drinking or food preparation should be boiled vigorously for three minutes; let cool before drinking. Use the boiled water for drinking, brushing teeth and diluting fruit juices. Dispose of ice cubes from automatic icemakers and follow manufacturers' recommendations for appliances that use water. Dishes and other food contact surfaces can be disinfected by immersing them for a least one minute in a mixture of one teaspoonful of bleach in a gallon of tap water.

Water for washing hands or bathing does not have to be sterilized, but parents should take care that children don't swallow any bathwater. People with cuts or severe rashes may want to consult their doctors.

Restaurants and convenience stores should turn off icemakers, soft drink dispensers and other food-related machines with a direct line to the water system. Cape Girardeau County Health Department offers guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the equipment so it can be put back into service after the boil water order expires.

For more information, call the city's water division at 651-6280 or the Cape Girardeau County Health Department at 335-7846.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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