West Brazos Junior High

BRAZORIA — A boil water notice led to a five-day break for Columbia-Brazoria ISD students as administrators decided they’d rather be safe than sorry and canceled classes again for today.

Part of a bank “caved off” while a contractor dug on the east side of Highway 36 during work on a sewer line Wednesday afternoon, City Manager Olan Massingill said. A water line inside the soft, saturated dirt broke off and caused a leak, he said.

It “snowballed from there,” Massingill said. The amount of water lost caused an unsafe drop in pressure throughout the city’s water system, he said.

Because of the proximity of the leak to sewer lines, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required a boil water notice, meaning water cannot be used unless it is boiled, Massingill said.

Brazoria officials alerted residents through the citywide phone system, he said.

The sewer line was plugged off before the leak, so officials do not think the water was contaminated, Mayor Roger Shugart said.

C-BISD wanted to be protective by canceling school for Thursday, which parents were notified of Wednesday evening, Superintendent Steven Galloway said.

Students at Brazoria schools after the line break could use restrooms but not wash their hands, he said.

“For health purposes, it’s just not worth it for us,” he said.

The boil water notice affects half the students in the district, so if a parent had one student at Barrow and one student at the high school, it wouldn’t make sense to cancel school at just some campuses, Galloway said.

“It’s just easier to cancel it and not have anyone worry about that, just take care of themselves,” he said.

The district built extra instructional time into its calendar, so students and teachers should not have to make the up for the missed days, Galloway said.

“It’s just one of those things that happens and it’s disruptive, but there’s nothing we can do about it so we’ll just do the best we can,” he said.

Public works employees stopped the leak and flushed the system Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Massingill said. They collected a sample and turned it into Brazoria County Health Department on Thursday morning, but it takes 24 hours to get results, he said.

That is why C-BISD canceled school Friday too, since they won’t have the results before the school day would start, Galloway said.

With Presidents’ Day on Monday, which is a staff development day, students will get a five-day break, Galloway said.

“Hopefully we’ll get out of this mess around noon tomorrow,” Shugart said.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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