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Old water main break causes loss of water services

By Dominik Stallings

Tuscola lost water Saturday night when an old water main broke at 7:30 p.m. underneath the railroad on Main Street.

Water service came back at 11:30 p.m. later that night under a boil order, which was lifted at 3:38 p.m. on Sunday.

According to City Administrator Drew Hoel, the city found a leak underneath the railroad coming from an old cast iron pipe with no valves.

Denny Cruzan, city foreman, said newer water main pipes are encased, meaning they are pipes within a pipe; but the older mains that run under the tracks are not.

Due to a lack of an encasing pipe, the leak could not be repaired. The crew continued to perform a line stop to shut off the pipe that morning. The city has previously installed two other water mains at the Niles and Washington crossings, so stopping the line would not have impacted water service significantly.

Hoel said that the contractors did everything they could to prevent the pipe from breaking. He said the water main broke because a piece of the contractor’s equipment was destroyed while working on the leak.

“We had to shut it off and shut off the valve coming into town or it was going to do it for us,” said Hoel.

After the water service was online, the city issued a city-wide boil order. Several businesses had to close or reduce their services over the weekend.

Hoel said because of the citywide loss of water pressure, the city had to test the water twice due to Illinois EPA requirements. The water tests and sampling have to be performed by a certified lab outside of Tuscola and require bacteria to grow in a petri dish. The whole process can take up to 18 hours. Cruzan said testing is normally constrained to regular business hours but that the company made an exception to expedite water service to the city. Both tests passed, which allowed Tuscola to lift the boil order Sunday afternoon.

Mayor Dan Kleiss said there is a lot of good information about boil orders on the city’s website at

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