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‘Coming out the gym doors’: Water main break causes flooding at Moose Jaw school

Water main break causing flooding at Moose Jaw school
WATCH: While the cold is causing challenges for Moose Jaw crews repairing a major water main break, dozens of homeowners are starting to clean up the mess left behind.

A Moose Jaw, Sask., elementary school is in clean-up mode after roughly 30 properties were affected by a “significant” water main break Monday morning.

The basement of William Grayson School flooded when a water main broke at the intersection of Caribou Street and 9th Avenue Northwest.

READ MORE: Water main break affects multiple homes, school in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Principal Bruce Fritzler said water was seen “coming out the gym doors” on Monday.

Standing water had to be swept out of the gymnasium at William Grayson School in Moose Jaw.
Standing water had to be swept out of the gymnasium at William Grayson School in Moose Jaw. Credit: Bruce Fritzler

Two classrooms had to be relocated, one to an art room and the other to the library. The school’s gymnasium took the brunt of the damage.

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“Our sports teams will be affected and [physical education] classes are obviously on hold,” Fritzler said. “If it wasn’t so cold outside, we could have said, ‘we’re going outside for some activities,’ but we’re limited to that, too.”
William Grayson School was one of 30 properties affected by a major water main break in Moose Jaw on Monday.
William Grayson School was one of 30 properties affected by a major water main break in Moose Jaw on Monday. Credit: Bruce Fritzler

Staff had to haul in pails of water to flush toilets and supply bottled water for drinking.

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As of 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Fritzler said water had been restored. Once the clean up is finished, classes will be “back to normal.”

Winmar is working to clean the school, one of a dozen calls they’ve received since the water main break.

Owner Kyle Jacques said after the crews assess the water damage, they will give the space three to four days to dry out. He said it could take up to two weeks to get everything back into place.

READ MORE: Water main breaks rising across Saskatchewan

“The desks and furniture and everything will all get wiped down and disinfected so that it’s safe for the kids to return,” Jacques said.

Down the road from the school, city crews have 9th Avenue Northwest closed between Fairford and Montgomery Street while they fix the break.

The city said the closure could be in place for the rest of the week as crews battle the intense cold.

READ MORE: The cost of replacing lead service lines for residents in Regina, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon

“With these temperatures, it slows everything down,” said the city’s utilities manager, Darrin Stephanson. “Whether it’s equipment breaking through the frost or the personnel themselves that have to work with the parts when they’re actually in these holes … it’s not a pleasant situation when we’re at these temperatures.”

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Stephanson said crews are focusing on fixing the water main, before digging deeper to reach the sewer line, which was also damaged in the break.

“The break did penetrate the sewer line, which pumped water into the sewer main which did cause a backup in a widespread area,” Stephanson said. “Not every home will get hit. It will depend on the elevation of each line.”

READ MORE: February sets new monthly record of 52 water-main breaks in Regina

Stephanson said he doesn’t have a total count yet, but more than 20 homes were hit with sewer backup.

Water was expected to be restored to all 30 properties Tuesday afternoon.

The city said sewer services should not be affected as repairs continue.