45°FFog/MistFull Forecast

Workers will be analyzing control panel failure today

Boil order lifted Sunday morning; water safe to drink

Published: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Michael Krabbenhoeft/
Crews from the Rock Falls water and sewer departments work Saturday afternoon near the intersection of First Avenue and West 19th Street in Rock Falls.

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.

Get breaking news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from Sauk Valley Media!

National video

Reader Poll

There’s a movement afoot in the Illinois Legislature to name former President Barack Obama’s birthday (Aug. 4) as a legal holiday in Illinois. What do you think?
Good idea
Bad idea
Not sure
No opinion