STOWE PA – A water main break that occurred Wednesday morning (Feb. 10, 2016) at about 7:30 near the intersection of Berks and West Walnut streets caused minor flooding along some local streets, disrupted water service to hundreds of properties, prompted the closure of a Pottstown school and Montgomery County Community College, and caused a voluntary early dismissal at a Pottsgrove school.
Flooding was reported to have been contained, and the gushing water shut off, by mid-morning Wednesday. Public works crews in Pottstown, which owns the water system, were expected to replace the damaged section of pipe by Wednesday night, the borough said on its Facebook page.
Property owners reportedly were notified of water service restoration at about 7 p.m., although as of Thursday morning (Feb. 11) at 6 a.m. there was no official notice either on the borough website or Facebook that the work had been completed.
The borough imposed a short-term boil-water order affecting only residents of Berks Street from Elm Street south to West King Street. Notices of the order were hand-delivered to each affected residence, and also were available for download from the borough website, here. Property owners who discovered debris in their water were urged to run faucets and flush their home pipes to remove those particles until the water ran clear.
Here’s how the break of the 20-inch main affected Pottsgrove schools and other institutions:
In Pottstown Borough
Traffic was closed for several hours, the borough said, on Berks Street between Glasgow Street and West King Street, on Elm Street at Berks Street, and on West Walnut Street at Berks Street. Water service ended when the pipe was shut down, but it added “all other areas should not be affected.” Property owners with questions were asked to call the Public Works Department at 610-970-6527.
In The Pottstown School District
The district’s Elizabeth B. Barth Elementary School on West Walnut Street was closed for the day, it announced on Twitter and other social media outlets.
At Montgomery County Community College
“As a result of road work in the areas affected by the water main break in the Borough of Pottstown, the West Campus is now closed for remainder of day (and) evening,” MCCC announced Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m. on Facebook. “All day (and) evening classes (or) activities are canceled, including University Center classes. Please exit the campus as soon as possible,” it asked. “This impacts West Campus only. MCCC’s other locations are open and operating on a normal schedule.”
The college later said it would “open and operate on a normal schedule on Thursday.”
In The Pottsgrove School District
Administrators at West Pottsgrove Elementary School on Grosstown Road, which was directly affected by the break, were cautioned Wednesday morning that all in the building should avoid drinking its tap water. School principals and staff members, including cafeteria personnel, were advised, the district said, and hand sanitizer was made available for personal hygiene.
The district initially decided instructional programs at West Pottsgrove would continue with regular student activities. By mid-morning, however, the building was still avoiding its water and parents were notified that, if they desired, their West Pottsgrove students could be picked up at Pottsgrove Middle School, North Hanover Street, at 12:45 p.m.
In several social media comments, parents generally praised district officials for their handling of the situation.
- ‘Massive’ water main break reported in Pottstown (Pottstown Mercury)
- Water main break closes elementary school in Pottstown (Reading Eagle)
Photo from Google Images; map from Google Maps