Water Main Break Leaves East Chicago in 'State of Emergency'

All schools closed Monday

By Stefan Holt
|  Monday, Dec 12, 2011  |  Updated 9:22 AM CDT
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Crews worked through the night and into Monday to pump out thousands of gallons of water and make repairs. There's no word on what caused the water main break, but those close to the repair job say it could have been the result of aging infrastructure.

Crews worked through the night and into Monday to pump out thousands of gallons of water and make repairs. There's no word on what caused the water main break, but those close to the repair job say it could have been the result of aging infrastructure.

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A major water main break left a northwest Indiana town mostly without water Monday and all schools closed.

East Chicago officials call the rupture, discovered early Sunday, a state of emergency. They urge residents not to use unnecessary amounts of water and to boil any water still being routed into their homes.

Crews worked through the night and into Monday to pump out thousands of gallons of water and make repairs. There's no word on what caused the break, but those close to the repair job say it could have been the result of aging infrastructure.

"We've got a pretty old system here in East Chicago," said city president Adrian Santos. "This is one of the main arteries and it's gotta be close to 80 years old."

One neighbor spotted about three inches of water flooded Alder Street. "This is major!" said Santos. "Please check on your elderly neighbors, make sure they are safe, and please be patient," he said.

The East Chicago Police Department is distributing water on a first-come, first-served basis, and the health department is assisting the elderly.

Santos expects some running water to return by 10 a.m. but warns residents to let the pressure build up and run the water so sediment filters out. In the meantime, running water is available at St. Catherine Hospital.

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