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Governor Rauner issues disaster proclamation for nine counties affected by water main break

Governor Bruce Rauner today issued a disaster proclamation for nine counties impacted by the Rend Lake Conservancy District water main break. The governor announced the proclamation during a visit to the Williamson County Emergency Operations Center in Marion. He also visited the Rend Lake Conservancy District, where district officials updated him on water restoration.

The proclamation ensures state support for affected communities will continue until all water supply issues are resolved. Counties in the proclamation include: Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Saline, Washington, White and Williamson.

“We’re encouraged that water is now flowing through the system,” Gov. Rauner said. “We’ve arranged for several truckloads of water to be delivered to the area today. We will continue to support the local officials in whatever way we can until everyone has good, safe water flowing again.”

“We do want to warn people that because of decreased chemical levels there may be higher than normal levels of bacteria in the water,” Rauner said. “We must flush it out to keep our residents safe. We have had Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel working on this around the clock, and we will give updates as soon as possible.”

All systems served by the Rend Lake Conservancy District remain on boil orders. Residents are encouraged to watch for notices from local officials and media for when the orders may be lifted.

Representatives from several state agencies and other response organizations are coordinating support efforts in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield.

The state has coordinated shipments of bottled water for affected communities from several sources, including:

  • Three semi truckloads of water from the Salvation Army
  • 22 pallets of water from Ameren
  • 3,000 cases of water from Home Depot
  • Two semi truckloads of water procured by the state.

The SEOC will remain activated as long as necessary.

Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a memo to affected healthcare facilities offering guidance on steps that can be taken to minimize risk to patients, residents, and staff, while meeting the mandate to provide safe water to building occupants for all required uses. IDPH is offering free voluntary water testing to regulated health care facilities in the area. Bottles are in the process of being personally delivered to each facility where they can collect water after the boil orders are lifted and take it to the IDPH laboratory in Carbondale for testing. The efforts will continue and the lab will remain open throughout the weekend.