Illinois American Water’s Cairo District Fixing Water System Leaks; Boil Water Order Extended and Water Treatment Change Announced

Cairo, Ill. (Feb. 19, 2021) —Illinois American Water’s Cairo District is working around the clock to repair water distribution leaks. The leaks are a result of the recent cold weather. The leaks caused a loss in water pressure, resulting in a systemwide boil water order for the Cairo District service area.

The boil water order issued yesterday, Feb. 18, 2021, remains in effect and has been extended until further notice. Customers should bring their water to a rolling boil for five minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. Water is OK for bathing, washing and other common uses. Anytime water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch in any part of a community’s distribution system, a boil water order must be issued as a precaution to protect customers. For more information about boil water orders please view Boil Water FAQs online at under Water Quality.

Mike Brown, operations superintendent for the Cairo District said, “We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers. We continue to work around the clock to restore water service to normal. The team has identified and isolated eight leaks over the past several days. The local team is working hard in a challenging situation due to cold temps and snow cover. We thank our customers for their understanding.”

In addition to distribution system repairs, Illinois American Water is also making a water treatment change to support continued water quality. 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. 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 healthcare provider.

Customers are being notified about the boil water order extension and treatment change via media outreach, customer calls and Illinois American Water website updates at Information is also provided to our customer service center representatives. Landlords should inform their tenants of the impact to their water service. Notification will be completed in the same manner when the boil water order is lifted or should additional action be required.

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/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and 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 make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

External Affairs Manager