Polk waterline breaks in Mill Spring

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Break caused three schools to close Monday

MILL SPRING — Many Polk County students got an unexpected day off Monday after a waterline broke in Mill Spring over the weekend.

Polk County Middle, Polk Central Elementary and Sunny View Elementary schools were closed that way due to the break.

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The waterline break occurred on Highway 9, north of U.S. 74, early Sunday morning. Inman-Campobello Water District maintains all of Polk County’s waterlines, and had service restored later Sunday, but testing of the water had not been done, so the three schools were closed because of water pressure and drinking quality concerns.

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said the lines are approximately five years old, with that particular waterline installed in 2013-2014.

“Five years old is not that old for a waterline,” Pittman said. “When that line was put in, ICWD started putting a good eye on the construction and they caught the contractor not putting in thrust restraints.”

Pittman said the county and ICWD thought all of the restraints were fixed, but realistically, there were a few that were not discovered.

The weekend break, which was discovered around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, was the second break on that water line since it was installed, Pittman said. The first break for the same reason occurred during the warranty period, which was during the first year of service.

“Hopefully this is it,” Pittman said.

Polk County owns its waterlines and gets water service from Broad River Water Authority. ICWD maintains and operates Polk County’s water system and is responsible for the costs to fix the break.

Polk Central, the middle school and Sunny View are all on the county’s water system. Polk County High School, Polk County Early College and Tryon and Saluda elementary schools were open on Monday because they have water service through the municipalities  in which they are located.

All Polk County schools were expected to operate as normal on Tuesday.

“We are working on getting them back in tomorrow,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “[We are] getting bottled water ready for them.” 

Greene said officials have not yet determined if the three schools will have to make up for the missed day on Monday.