LANSING | Officials with the Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 are trying to figure out how to resolve a problem of a water service line near T.F. South High School that experienced three breaks within a nine-day time period.
The service line in question is about 350 feet long, and it lies underneath the west parking lot that is often used by people attending football or basketball games at the high school.
All three breaks occurred within a 30-foot stretch of the line. Maintenance officials at T.F. South said they were able to shut off their connection to the service line in a way that ensures the high school continues to have access to a fresh water supply.
“The water main is flowing fine," said Lansing Village Administrator J. Wynsma. "It’s the service lines that connect homes and properties to the line that have experienced problems.”
Wynsma said the problem is because the frost line at which the ground freezes due to winter cold temperatures usually is somewhere between 42 and 48 inches. This winter, it has exceeded 60 inches, which is deep enough to impact the various water lines. He said the village has experienced 15 to 20 breaks in service lines this winter.
But the repeated breaks on this service line, along with the fact that the same line underwent a major repair in 2010, has high school officials wondering what to do next.
During a School Board Building & Grounds Committee meeting Tuesday night, maintenance officials said the service line experienced its first break on Feb. 11, which was repaired the next day.
On Feb. 13, a second break occurred, and that one was repaired by Feb. 17.
The final break occurred on Feb. 20 and it has not been repaired yet.
School officials said the repairs already done have cost the district about $6,400, with another $3,600 cost expected to fix the asphalt that covers the water main so it can serve as a parking lot.
But the repeated number of breaks has officials wondering if a more thorough rebuilding of the line needs to take place with an estimated cost of $65,000 to take on such a project, along with the cost of restoring the asphalt covering.
“I’m not in love with the idea of us paying for repairs to the (service line) if it’s not going to serve us for a lengthy time,” district Superintendent Creg Williams said, while adding he does not like the cost of a more comprehensive repair of the project either.
The matter is getting more study because officials were able to maintain a water supply to the high school, although Williams said the issue is one likely to be decided by school officials come spring.
“This issue is going to be addressed when the weather warms up and all the chill we have been experiencing has died down,” Williams said.