Alton Gets Water for Flushing Bottled Water, Distribution Points Still Needed for Drinking, Baths

Article excerpt

The city of Alton responded with a welcome flush Friday as water began flowing through the pipes in town for the first time since Sunday.

The water, with warnings to use it only for flushing toilets, had reached more than half of the 72,000 customers of the Illinois-American Water Co. by Friday afternoon, according to spokesman Wayne Schlosser.

He said company employees worked around the clock all week, setting up a pumping system on the flooded Great River Road north of downtown Alton. That allowed them to get the water flowing much sooner than the first estimate of two weeks.

"We're up to 7 million gallons of water a day now," Schlosser said Friday afternoon. "We normally pump 9.2 million gallons per day. We've got the water to about 50 percent of our service area. It will take some time to get it to everyone. We're asking the cooperation of those who have water. We're asking them to conserve water so we can get it through the system quicker."

He said the water was being pumped directly out of the Mississippi River. It was laced heavily with chlorine to kill any bacteria that had built up while the lines were empty.

He said it was not fit for use in drinking, cooking, bathing or laundry, and even boiling would not help. …