Water main break closes schools
‘Material failure’ possible cause; more than 1 million gallons spilled
SPRINGDALE — A main water line broke early Thursday morning, spilling more than 1 million gallons and causing all city schools to close.
The 36- inch line broke between 420 and 412 Park St. near Luther George Park and residential neighborhoods. Park Street runs from Emma Avenue toward the south part of town.
It ’ s unknown what caused the break, said Heath Ward, Springdale Water Utilities director.
“More than likely it was probably material failure,” Ward said. “There was no off-the-wall situation to cause this.”
The main broke about 4 a.m., and utility workers had the situation under control by about 6 a. m. More than 1 million gallons of water gushed out of a crack more than a foot long, Ward said.
“Considering the size of the crack, we’re pretty lucky,” Wards said.
The Beaver Water District reported to the city at 4: 07 a. m. the tank level in the Springdale system were falling quickly. This indicated a severe leak, according to a city news release.
Schools were closed because there was no water at 25 of the 31 schools at 5 a.m., according to Rick Schaeffer, communications director for Springdale Public Schools.
Once service was restored, the schools began a process of cleaning all geothermal systems, disassembling and cleaning all flush valves, toilets, sinks and water fountains and flushing the boiler systems in all the kitchens, Schaeffer said.
“So they’ll be working all day on that; that’s a pretty extensive process,” Schaeffer said Thursday morning.
Deputy Superintendent Jared Cleveland said the maintenance staff would work through the day and night to complete the restoration process so students and staff could return to campuses today.
Utility personnel contacted Northwest Regional Medical Center-Springdale as soon as the line break was discovered, Ward said.
The hospital had no issues, said Pat Driscoll, vice president of marketing for the hospital.
“We had a drop in water pressure, but it was fixed so quickly that we had no issue,” Driscoll said.
It’s unknown how many homes in Springdale were affected, but because it is a main line that “transmits massive amounts of water,” customers throughout the city, as well as client municipalities Tontitown and Johnson, were affected, Ward said.
“There were some locations that might of had some cloudy water from a little bit of sediment in there,” Ward said. “If the system gets shocked, it can stir that up and give it some discoloration.”
A boil order didn’t have to be issued.
“We did not issue a boil order because we did not depressurize the system, and after talking to our staff and the Department of Health, we didn’t see a need to issue a boil order,” Ward said. “We have one of the healthiest water systems from a maintenance standpoint in the state.”
A secondary, 16-inch line is being used until the main line is repaired.
“We hope this line is back in service in 72 to 96 hours,” Ward said in a news release issued late Thursday. “The work will not take that long, but we must scrutinize and send out lab samples on the line prior to returning to service. As long as the community continues to be mindful of conservation, we don’t anticipate any further issues.”
Ward said such a situation is rare.
“We deal with line breaks everyday, but something of this magnitude is just huge,” he said.
Personnel with Springdale’s Water Utilities Department continue to drain and clear Thursday the area where a 36-inch water main broke between 420 and 412 Park St. in Springdale. The main broke around 4 a.m. Schools were closed because there was no water at 25 of the city’s 31 schools, according to Rick Schaeffer, communications director for the School District.
Springdale’s Water Utilities Department personnel work to drain and clear the area where a 36-inch water main broke in Springdale on Thursday. .