published Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Ooltewah High School plumbing leak wasn't sewage, school official says

Reports Wednesday of raw sewage leaking into several classrooms at Ooltewah High School were false, said Principal Jim Jarvis.

Harold Thrower, supervisor of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for Hamilton County Schools, said the damage was done from a water fountain that burst from old age overnight. The fountain was on the second floor and caused flooding over several hundred square feet before leaking down to the first floor, where it caused an equal amount of damage.

"It ran until somebody come into the building this morning," Thrower said. "Anything running on the second floor usually finds a hole that runs into the first floor."

Although a toilet near the fountain also malfunctioned and ran water all night due to a faulty valve, Thrower said the toilet caused no flooding. The water all came from the fountain.

Jarvis said the reports of "urine-tainted" water were a result of discolored water leaking from the drinking fountain.

"There was no raw sewage," Jarvis said.

He also said no students have missed any classes, although some students were moved from one classroom area to another while county maintenance worked to fix the problem.

Thrower said he expects no monetary damage was done to the school, despite the flooding, and that the problem has been fixed.

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