Illinois American Water to make Annual Treatment Change Work includes Flushing of Water Mains and Fire Hydrants

Belleville, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2022) – Beginning this week, Illinois American Water’s Metro East water system will undergo an annual treatment change.  This change is temporary.  Work will also include the flushing of water mains and fire hydrants.  Coupled together the treatment change and flushing supports continued water quality and fire protection to homes and businesses; it will occur across the Metro East water distribution system through October.  A list of communities served by Illinois American Water’s Metro East system is located at the end of this release.

Treatment Change
Illinois American Water’s water quality team will be switching treatment to a form of chlorine known as “free chlorine,” which does not contain ammonia. This stronger disinfectant is typically used by water utilities when flushing water mains and fire hydrants. Chlorine is commonly used in public water systems as a disinfectant and is monitored closely by our water quality professionals.

During the temporary treatment change, customers may experience a more noticeable chlorine taste or odor in their water. There is no reason for concern. This is due to the switch in chlorine types. Institutions with additional water purification filters for special needs, for instance hospitals and dialysis centers, have been contacted about this work and are aware of the treatment change. Anyone with questions about home health care equipment should reach out to their health-care provider.

Fire Hydrant and Water Main Flushing
During this period, fire hydrants and water mains will be flushed.  Through the discharge of water from the fire hydrant(s), water flow rates are increased to provide a scouring effect that removes mineral deposits that may accumulate in the water main.  While the majority of mineral deposits are removed from the hydrant discharge, it is not uncommon for customers to experience a temporary discoloration of water within their residence or dwelling.  The removal of these deposits is critical in maintaining water quality.  When fire hydrant flushing is occurring, the following items should be considered:

  • If possible, avoid using water while flushing is taking place. Use of water during the flushing event may result in discolored water entering the premise plumbing of the residence or dwelling. 
  • If you encounter discolored water during hydrant flushing, run water from the cold water tap only until discoloration subsides. Do not use hot water until discoloration is no longer present when flushing from the cold water tap.  This may require flushing of cold water from multiple taps. 
  • Do not do laundry during, or shortly after, the hydrant flushing event. Discolored water may stain fabrics.
  • If, after flushing from the cold water tap(s), water pressure appears lower than normal, clean the faucet aerator. Mineral deposits may obstruct flow through the aerator (screen), resulting in lower pressure.
  • When water discoloration or pressure problems persist, contact Illinois American Water at 800-422-2782.
  • For additional concerns, regarding potential water quality issues, contact the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency at 217-782-1020 or Illinois Emergency Management Agency at 800-782-7860.


The maintenance program will occur in all direct service communities in the Belleville, East St. Louis and Granite City areas and also sale-for-resale (wholesale) communities. Customers are being notified of this work by Illinois American Water via the company’s notification system which calls, emails and/or texts customers based on their preferences.  Customers are encouraged to update their contact information so they can receive communications about water service emergencies and work.  Customers can update their information online via MyWater or by calling 800-422-2782.  For additional information, customers can visit or contact Illinois American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-422-2782.

Communities served directly by Illinois American Water:

Cahokia Heights (from Commonfields of Cahokia PWD.  This includes the community previously known as Centreville)
Belleville                                                                                        East St. Louis
Centreville                                                                                      Brooklyn
Fairmont City                                                                                 Sauget
Shiloh                                                                                              Washington Park
Alorton                                                                                            Swansea
Canteen Township                                                                        St. Clair Township
Stookey Township                                                                         Smithton Township
Granite City                                                                                    Madison
Venice                                                                                             Nameoki Township

Sale-for-resale (wholesale) communities:
Scott Air Force Base                                           O’Fallon  (Also provides water to Fairview Heights)
Glen Carbon                                                       Millstadt
Caseyville                                                          Columbia (which serves Prairie Dupont Water District)
Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District         Concordia Water District
Waterloo                                                               Pontoon Beach Water District
Mitchell Water District                                                                 
Bond Madison Water Company which serves: Livingston, Hamel, Worden, Williamson, Pierron, Pocahontas, St. Jacob, Grantfork, Marine, Three County Water District and Alhambra.

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

Senior Manager External Communications