ROCK FALLS – A boil order, which has since been lifted, was issued by the city early Monday because of a blown water main, the mayor's office said on Tuesday.

The water department received an alarm at about 1:30 a.m. on Monday of low water levels in the water tower located at Eighth Avenue, Mayor William B. Wescott said.

When officials arrived at the tower, they found that a 12-inch pipe leading out of it and running below ground had burst open near the Coloma Homes Apartments.

The leaking water main caused water levels and water pressure to drop in the 30,000-gallon tower, Wescott said, resulting in the alarm.

A water department crew excavated the broken main, replaced a 5- to 7-foot-long piece of pipe, opened the water valves and found no leaks.

Whenever a drop in water pressure occurs, Wescott said, the city is required to collect 10 samples from different locations around the city to test the water's quality.

The samples are sent to an Illinois Department of Public Health lab in Peoria, which needs an 18-hour period to grow and test for "safe" bacteria in the water that signal its potability, or suitability for drinking.

While the city waits on the results, Wescott said, it issues a boil order so that residents and businesses don't consume potentially unsafe water.

Monday's order was issued for 48 hours because the city expected a delay in the test results due to the federal holiday and short staffing at the lab, Wescott said.

"And when it comes to water issues, it's best to err on the side of caution and good judgment," Wescott said.

But the lab was able to process the samples and return the results early Tuesday morning, before the order expired on Wednesday.

The results showed no evidence of contamination, Wescott said, so the order was lifted at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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