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Rock Falls workers to look into control panel issue

Boil order lifted early Sunday morning

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 8:38 p.m. CST
(Philip Marruffo/
Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott speaks during a news conference Friday morning.
(Philip Marruffo/
Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott speaks during a news conference Friday morning.

ROCK FALLS – Despite the President's Day holiday, workers will be in Rock Falls today trying to determine what caused the control panel at the city pump station to fail, causing a 190,000-gallon sewage backup and the first total city water shutdown in recent memory.

The shutdown lasted about 18 hours, from 3:30 p.m. Thursday until 9:30 a.m. Friday, but when the water came on, city officials advised it be used only for showering, cooking and flushing toilets.

A precautionary boil order was put into effect until the Dixon water department could run tests to determine if the water was safe to drink; those results came in about 7:15 a.m. Sunday, a few hours earlier than expected, and the order was lifted.

Workers from a variety of disciplines will try to determine what happened to the 12th Avenue pump station control panel, which Rock Falls sewer department workers were able to repair, Mayor Bill Wescott said.

"We just know the power to the panel went out, but we don't know why," Wescott said Sunday, adding that he thinks it will take 2 or 3 days to figure that out, and, hopefully, how to keep it from happening again.

While the boil order was in effect, the city handed out bottled water donated by Walmart to residents at four sites, where portable toilets also were set up.

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