Pawhuska fights another day of water line breaks

Pawhuska water line break

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The holiday break continues for Pawhuska students as the city fights a second day of back-to-back water line breaks.

"Once you get down below 15 degrees for an extended amount of time you get rapid expansion and contraction in soil and that starts snapping the lines," said Mark Chamberlain, superintendent of the Water Department.

It's an unfortunate issue that happens everywhere. Fortunately, Chamberlain says no one is without water.

"We will valve off and isolate the leak," Chamberlain said.

He says the water is safe.

"It isn't a health hazard or anything, it is just rusty water and we've been testing the water every day and we've got good test results back," Chamberlain said.

But the brown-tinted water is an issue for schools, forcing Superintendent Dr. Janet Neufeld to cancel classes for a second day.

"Water discoloration means different things to them than it does to us," Neufeld said. "We are going to continue until the lines are flushed and the water is clear, then we will resume school."

Neufeld is making her decision to open or close school one day at a time.

"There is just nothing you can do about a situation like this," Neufeld said. "It is an emergency."

As for kids getting that extra long break, summer will be cut a little short.

'We will just add them to the end of the year until they are all made up," Neufeld said. "We have to abide by the state accreditation guidelines and that requires that we will be making these days up."

The school and the city continue to ask for patience.

Chamberlain says if you have brown water, turn on your cold water for 20 or 30 minutes to flush the system.

No word on whether school will be back in session Thursday.

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