Boil order lifted for University of Chicago area after negative tests

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CHICAGO — City officials have rescinded a boil order requirement for the area near the University of Chicago after water tests came back negative on Sunday, officials said.

City officials had initially issued the order on Saturday morning after a water main on the South Side was not properly flushed and sanitized.

On Sunday, city officials got the all-clear after water quality tests came back negative, according to Peter Scales, a water department spokesman.

City officials said that residents in the area should flush out water pipes by letting cold water run for a few minutes followed by hot water. People with ice makes should dump out ice and allow the ice maker to go through several cycles.

Officials plan to canvas the area to alert residents of the rescinded order, Scales said.

The order, which was issued Saturday morning, will continue to be in effect until after water quality tests are completed, according to a statement that was updated Sunday morning by University of Chicago officials.

The problem began Friday evening when a contractor for the city’s Department of Water Management was installing a water main on the 1100 block of East 57th Street. After reports of poor water quality, it was determined that the water main was not properly sanitized and flushed before being connected to the system, department spokesman Peter Scales said earlier.

The water department had worked to flush the new main but as a precaution had issued a boil order which included the campus, and business and residential buildings in the area from 56th to 59th streets from Dorchester to Cottage Grove avenues, the release said. That included the University of Chicago Medical Center and Comer Children’s Hospital.

Instructions were sent out to University of Chicago facilities cautioning people to not drink from water fountains or sinks, and not to use ice from machines. Officials also said patients should use bottled water to brush their teeth and refrain from taking showers.

Staff members were told to use the sinks to wash their hands using soap and water, but then follow up with hand sanitizer.

City workers canvassed the area Saturday to let residents and business owners know about the boil order and put up notices on all buildings in the area, Scales said.

-- Chicago Tribune staff report.