Water main break leaves Sussex residents, schools without water

SUSSEX (WITI) -- Some people in the village of Sussex spent most of Friday without water after a water main valve broke at the corner of Butternut Lane and Maple Avenue.

The Department of Public Works said a police officer first noticed the water spilling out onto the street and sidewalk around 4:30 a.m. The first step to fix it was to shut the water off. However, crews waited nearly six hours to do that after talking to school officials across the street at Maple Avenue Elementary.

“As soon as we were able we sent out a message to our parents so they were aware of an early dismissal today,” explained Denise Lindberg, the Public Information Coordinator with Hamilton School District.

School started on time, but only went until 10. Parents could keep their kids home. Only about a third of the students showed up. Buses were also an option. Some parents made other arrangements -- picking up their children themselves or calling someone to do it for them.

“My daughter called me, and we were getting tires put on our car so we were not sure what time we would get here but we made it in time,” said Donna Pehowski, a grandparent who picked up her grandson from the school.

“I ran to talk to my boss real quick and I said I got to leave and I made about 6 calls for who I could get to take Grace,” said Kristin Beatty, a parent.

School officials said since it was the only school in the district affected, the kids will not have to make this missed day up.

21 residents were also left without water.

“You don't realize until you’re out of water how important it is,” said Gary Tennyson.

Crews said it took them longer than usual to get to the valve because of the frozen ground.  The water at Peace Lutheran Church and Academy was also shut off -- but no one was sent home early.  The school and church both stayed open without water.