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Oct. 24, 2020

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Water main break sends thousands of gallons into Columbia River High School

Break caused by construction work in west parking lot, district says

By , Columbian Web Editor, and
, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith
Published:
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Contractors work a water main break at Columbia River High School in Vancouver on Oct. 16, 2020.
Contractors work a water main break at Columbia River High School in Vancouver on Oct. 16, 2020. (Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Firefighters from Clark County Fire District 6 were called to a water main break on 99th Street shortly after midnight Friday that sent thousands of gallons of water rushing into Columbia River High School, according to a press release.

The break was in front of the Hazel Dell high school at 800 N.W. 99th St. The 8-inch main is estimated to carry 1,600 gallons of water per minute. Firefighters were able to locate both valves in the looped system and shut off the water. They also used a hose to divert water away from the school.

Dave Schmitke, spokesman for the fire district, said damage inside the school “wasn’t that bad.”

No homes are believed to be affected at this time.

Pat Nuzzo, spokeswoman for Vancouver Public Schools, said the pipe break was due to increased water pressure from construction work in the west parking lot. No workers were on campus at the time.

The break sent water into a small gym and the basement, which was pumped out. She said the basement contained an old well (from when the school opened in 1962) and some equipment.

Clark Public Utilities, which provides water service to that neighborhood, repaired the pipe around 6 a.m. Water was back on at Columbia River around 9 a.m.

The water main break is the second in roughly a year in the same general area. Schmitke said last year’s damage occurred in a different place along the pipe.

Erica Erland, spokeswoman for the utility, said since this break was related to construction happening on campus, the contractor will handle repairs and cleanup.

New landscaping that was washed out by the flooding will be replaced.

There was no standing water visible at 9 a.m.

Northeast 99th Street appeared to be unaffected by the flooding.

This was the second major water main break this month. A city of Vancouver water main damaged by construction work on Oct. 3 near the Fort Vancouver Regional Library headquarters at East Mill Plain Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way caused significant flooding at the office building. It was blamed on a contractor working on construction of a nearby elementary school.

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