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Workers were out Thursday evening repairing a 12-inch water main that burst on Phoenix Street near the intersection of Blue Star Highway in South Haven. The break forced the cancellation of school, Friday, for South Haven Public Schools students. The main has been repaired, however, residents and businesses in a portion of the city and surrounding area are now on a boiled water advisory for at least the next 72 hours while bacteriological testing of the water, required by state law, takes place.

A number of South Haven area residents are on a boiled water advisory alert following a water main break.

The water main break occurred Thursday evening near the intersection of Phoenix Street and Blue Star Highway, forcing the closure of the intersection, while workers from the city's Department of Public Works and Compton Inc. worked to repair the 12-inch main. The break resulted from a six-foot-long crack in the water main.

The breakage affected the water supply to a significant number of residents and businesses who receive water and sewer services through the South Haven Area Water and Sewer Authority.

"Due to the water main break, system pressure dropped below 20 psi (pounds of water force per square inch)," Department of Public Works Director Bill Hunter stated.

The affected area is roughly bordered by 107th Avenue to the north, 71-1/2 Street to the east, 16th Avenue to the south and Interstate 196 to the west, including the lakeshore area of South Haven north of E. Wells Street.

Residents and businesses residing in that area are being advised to boil their water for the next several days, according to Hunter.

"The South Haven Area Water and Sewer Authority (SHAWSA) is required to perform bacteriological testing over 72 hours before canceling this notice," SHAWSA stated in the news release. "When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify residents that the water is safe for consumption."

Residents and businesses are being instructed to boil water for drinking, cooking and making ice.

"Water for drinking, cooking, and making ice should be boiled and cooled before consumption to ensure the destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes," the news release instructed. "The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.  Instead of boiling water, residents can purchase bottled water or obtain water from a suitable alternate source."

The water main break, which was repaired Thursday evening, forced the closure, today, of South Haven Public Schools, which has three school buildings located in the area affected by the water main break.

"We're not sure what caused the break," Hunter said. "It could be age or the temperatures cooling down. "We ended up replacing a 12-foot section of pipe and replaced two clamps."

A large portion of Phoenix Street, just west of Blue Star Highway, remains closed to traffic, while workers continue to replace the roadway above the water main.

"It will be closed until Monday to allow the concrete to cure," Hunter said.