ROCK FALLS, Ill. —  Residents and businesses were without water Thursday night after a failure of the sanitation infrastructure, Mayor Bill Wescott said in a news release.

The city’s water had to be turned off to stop the flow of sewage water to the sanitation plant because the plant had a pump failure and could not pump or reclaim the sewer water, Wescott said.

The water department shut off all water to prevent any more damage to the sanitation system, he said.

Residents were being asked to not flush their toilets. Also, residents on private wells were being asked to not use the sanitation system.

All schools, businesses, restaurants and alcoholic establishments have been temporarily closed by the Whiteside County Health Department.

The American Red Cross is distributing bottled water at four locations today: Rock Falls High School, Rock Falls Middle School, Thome School, and Rock Falls Community Building. They also would have portable toilets.

Additional portable toilets were being set up at Civic Plaza 1 and 2, Transitions Nursing Home and Wildwood Health Center. 

City crews are “working around the clock on the problems” and are being assisted by city, county and state agencies, Wescott said.

Updates were being posted on the city’s website and Facebook page.