School staff buys bottled water after main breaks

January 05, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Staff members at Clemens Crossing Elementary School in Columbia had to buy 100 gallons of bottled water Friday to get through the day after discovering a water main break had left school water filled with iron residue.

"The water was working, but it was murky," Principal Arlene Mindus said. "So my secretary, her husband and son went to Giant and bought 40 two-and-a-half gallon jugs of water and 2,000 cups."

A water main broke Thursday evening at Quarterstaff and Martin roads, near the school. Mindus was on campus for a PTA meeting that night and said the break was repaired by the time she left at 11 p.m. But when she arrived Friday, the water was not drinkable.

"What happens after a water main is fixed, the water's got that iron residue in it," Mindus said. "We had to turn it on to flush it out, but it took time to do all of that."

The water was clear and usable by 11 a.m. Friday, she said. Utilities bureau officials with the Howard County Department of Public Works assured Mindus the water was never harmful.

Mindus said there was no reason to close the school for the day. The bottled water was used for drinking, and staff members placed moist hand wipes in the restrooms for washing hands. Water was not necessary for meals either, she said, because they are brought into the school daily.

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