Thursday, May 26, 2016
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Crews work on putting in new water lines at 2nd St. in Minco on Wednesday, March 27. (Staff photo by Jon Watje)

By Jon Watje
Managing Editor

Work on the new water lines in Minco hit a snag yesterday as crews were forced to shut down water in the whole city for several hours.

Crews were installing a six-inch line last week, part of a water line project that has spanned over the past couple of months.

On Wednesday, March 27, crews ran into a problem of tying in one of the lines as an old valve defected.

"We have valves on all of our old lines and we were supposed to shut off water to just a certain area when were tying in the lines, but unfortunately we had to shut down both of the water towers ," said Steve Rice, Minco Water Superintendent. "We started working on the lines at 7 a.m. and ran into problems at about 11 a.m. That's when I started calling everyone to let them know we had to shut the water off."

Minco Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Sims said students were in the middle of lunch when the water was turned off. Despite having no working restrooms, Sims said school continued until the end of the day on Wednesday.

"We couldn't send our kids home right then because most of their parents are at work at that time and there had been no warning about the water being turned off," Sims said.  "At first we were told that it would be back on around 2 p.m. so we were not that concerned at first, but it didn't come back on. It went from bad to worse. It was no fun."

Water came back on for the whole city at around 10 p.m. that evening. But it had to be shut off again at around 11:30 p.m. when crews ran into another problem when trying to tie another line.

"We had the water back up and running about 7 a.m. on Thursday morning," Rice said. "Our workers worked all night to get the water back on."

Sims made the decision to close school the on Thursday when he discovered that the water had been turned back off overnight.

"I waited as long as I could for it to come back on and it was still off at 6:30 a.m. so I decided to call it," he said.

Sims said the district operates on a 'hours vs. days' policy and will not have to make up the day unless more days are missed in the future.

"We are pretty much at our limit right now," he said.

The city continues to work to replace old lines in the city, some of which are about 90 years-old, Rice said.

"We were awarded a $45,000 grant for water line replacement and I am also working on a $280,000 grant for more water line replacement," Rice said. "This is a giant step for the city."

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