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updated: 5/17/2018 3:04 PM

Broken pipe disrupts water service in southern Illinois

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BENTON, Ill. -- A broken water main in southern Illinois has left several cities short of water, forcing the closing of schools and businesses.

Officials say a breach in a 36-inch water distribution line at the Rend Lake Conservancy water plant near Benton is the reason for the loss of water service to more than 175,000 people. The district provides water to all or part of seven southern Illinois counties.

Rend Lake Conservancy official Larry Sanders says workers tried throughout the night to patch the pipe, but failed. He says they are now trying to create a bypass for one of three high-service pumps what will restore some water into the system.

Meanwhile, officials in several cities instituted measures Thursday to conserve water.

The city of Marion ordered the afternoon closing of all hotels, restaurants, hair salons, bakeries and bars.

Carterville ran out of water, forcing the closure of its schools.

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