Water main breaks & flooding are concerns for spring

GRAND CHUTE – The lingering frost led to a short day for some students in the Fox Valley Thursday. A water main broke.

Homeowners and businesses across the area have felt the same pain.

And as the warmer weather moves in, we won’t be out of the woods right away.

Badger Elementary School students and staff got a surprise Thursday morning. A nearby water main broke on Spencer Street, forcing school to close early.

“There was some excitement, of course, from the kids, but to pull that all together, our staff did a great job of being able to contact all the parents to make sure everybody made it home safe,” explained principal Tim Hopfenseperger.

Two other businesses closed when workers shut off the water to fix the break.

Grand Chute public works director Thomas Marquardt told FOX 11 the weather is to blame for the equipment failure.

“Water main breaks are always a concern, especially when you have as much frost in the ground as we do this year,” explained Marquardt.

The frost is about 5 feet deep in the ground. That makes fixing the break more difficult.

“A contractor is actually doing the repair, busting through the frost, because we don’t have the equipment at the town to get through it,” Marquardt said.

According to Marquardt, public works realized there was a water main break when someone saw water flowing into a stream from a storm sewer when it shouldn’t be.

“We kind of followed it out and had it correlated so we could find out where the break was,” Marquardt explained.

Marquardt told us water main breaks will be a concern into spring, because any rapid temperature changes can put pressure on the pipes.

Another concern? The snow melt possibly causing flooding.

“We’re making sure that all of our inlets are located and uncovered and not frozen. So we’re trying to get ahead of the game,” said Marquardt.

Badger Elementary canceled three days for cold.

With the early dismissal, the principal told us he’s hoping spring doesn’t bring any more problems.

“If we do have any more cold days or snow days, we’re probably gonna have to make those up,” said Hopfensperger.

Hopefully spring is kind.

The crew finished fixing the water main break Thursday evening. So school should be as scheduled Friday for Badger Elementary.

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