Boil order still in effect for East Chicago; Schools closed 2nd day

December 13, 2011 (EAST CHICAGO, Ind.)

Three days ago, a large water main broke on Alder Street and Columbus Drive. That left 30,000 residents without water. The problem was a break in a 24-inch main leading from East Chicago's new $5.2 million water filtration plant.

"The pressure built up on the old weak area in the pipe which was a cross t that they plugged with a lead joint and the lead joint gave way over time. It has been there 80 years," East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland said.

Crews have been working around the clock to fix the problem. While the water is flowing once again, officials worry about contamination. Residents have to boil water before using it.

"You're looking at a 48-hour window when we're asking them to boil their water. We simply tell them that at some point the health department is going to test the water and when they get two tests that say it's negative for any impurities that are in the water, then we will give the order that they can drink again," Mayor Copeland said.

Not only are schools closed for the second day, but several businesses and restaurants also had to shut their doors. The East Chicago Fire Department brought tanker trucks to a local hospital to keep water in the boilers to heat it.

The water will be tested throughout the day to see when the ban can be lifted.

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