Madison Elementary students returned to class March 5 after being out last week due to water damage. According to Leeann Northway, USD 231 public information officer, the cause of the flooding on Sunday, February 25 was due to a 6 inch fire line break inside the mechanical room of the building. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
A number of concerned parents were at the Mar. 5 USD 231 Board of Education meeting to learn more about the recent flooding at Madison Elementary.
Bruce Kracl, director of operations, described the cause and recovery efforts of the flooding.
A six inch fire line burst in a mechanical room.
Pressure from that leak heaved a concrete slab into a domestic water line, causing it to break as well.
The leak began sometime Sunday evening and flowed all night undetected until about 5:30 a.m. the next morning.
Staff immediately contacted ServPro, water damage restoration specialists, who were on the scene by 9 a.m.
It was soon decided that the damage was extensive enough to call in a second water restoration company, Help You Dry, Inc.
In addition, the district has employed Apex Environmental to do testing for secondary damage, such as mold.
In total, 65,000 sq. ft. of building space was flooded, much of it with 12 to 14 inches of water.
Carpets, floors, walls, insulation, furniture, equipment and supplies got soaked and had to be dried or discarded.
The maple gym floor was saturated in 3-4 inches of water and is not salvageable. It will be torn out during spring break and replaced over the summer.
An insurance agent toured the school and confirmed the claim would be covered.
A secondary problem discovered after plumbing was repaired is some sewer lines that are backing up due to having gravel and debris washed into them. This has caused one bathroom to be temporarily closed while the problem is being corrected.
Kracl introduced Chris Fry with Apex Environmental to explain the environmental issues.
Fry was onsite on the first day and observed the two restoration companies. He said they were using state of the art dessicant systems that were brought in from a St Louis location.
He said the work that had been done could not have been sped up in any way.
“Throughout this process, they’re constantly monitoring for secondary damage, secondary meaning any type of microbial growth,” said Fry.
Apex will begin testing after the last of the drying fans are removed and continually test for the first couple of weeks. Then a pause two weeks before another testing. Fry said that’s usually enough, but testing would be done once more a month after that for confidence.
Fry said that if test results were good that long, he would recommend ending the testing.
With some drying fans still in place and the sewer backup causing one bathroom to be closed, students returned to school on March 5.