220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
Aging water pipe to blame for broken water main at Columbia High
School closed for a day
HIGH SCHOOL WATER MAIN BREAK — White Salmon Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Lewis (left) watches as a hole is dug to search for the location of a water main break that occurred on the Columbia High School campus Friday morning. Both Henkle Middle School and CHS students were dismissed at 10:15 a.m. because of the water main break, which was determined to be caused by a burst pipe
February 12, 2013
By BEN MITCHELLColumbia High School and Henkle Middle School students were treated to an impromptu three-day weekend last Friday morning after a school water main broke shortly after classes began.
Elated students from both schools were dismissed at 10:15 a.m. following the discovery of the broken water main sometime around 9 a.m.
White Salmon Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Lewis said CHS Principal Troy Whittle heard the sound of running water and noticed water gushing out of the ground just north of the school's main building. Service was shut off just in time to prevent the building from flooding, as water had begun to reach the doors at the north entrance.
City workers used a backhoe to dig down nine feet to the buried six-inch pipe and discovered a three- to four-foot break running along its length. A section of the pipe approximately 12 feet long was replaced and service was returned at 4:30 p.m.
Lewis said the pipe was made out of a "concrete composite" and most likely split and separated due to its age. He noted the section of pipe was put in when Columbia High School was built in 1970. Although there have been some upgrades to the water system over the years, Lewis said both the CHS and HMS campuses are mostly still serviced by the same water pipes. Whitson Elementary, however, is inside White Salmon city limits and is served by the city's water system.
The district has no plans in the near future to replace the water pipes, but Lewis said he would be discussing the issue with the district's Facilities and Grounds task force.
Lewis said the water main break is covered under the district's insurance but would still "likely cost several thousand dollars." Both CHS and HMS were back in session on Monday and don't have to make up the portion of the lost school day as it wasn't a district-wide closure.