Water main break closes Mansfield schools early

Water main break on Route 206 leaves hundreds of residents and three local schools without water on Monday morning.

By: Eve Collins
   MANSFIELD — Hundreds of residents and three local schools were without water Monday morning after a water main broke on Route 206.
   The Northern Burlington schools as well as Mansfield Township Elementary School, all located on Mansfield Road East, dismissed students early because of the problem, officials said.
   Nearby residents in the Mapleton development also were affected, officials said.
   Mayor Patrick DeLorenzo said workers with the Elizabeth Water Company were using a backhoe and broke the water main near the company’s tower located on Route 206.
   Workers had originally predicted the repair would take at least four hours. Service was cut off around 9:30 a.m., but was up and running again more than an hour later.
   "The water was restored prior to dismissal of the schools, but they had already committed to dismissal," the mayor said.
   Officials made sure there was a sufficient supply of water on the firetrucks in case of an emergency at the schools or residences.
   Joseph Bruni, Superintendent of Mansfield Schools, said officials were alerted to the problem Monday morning, after school had started. "We decided that because we didn’t have water, we couldn’t have a full day," he said, but students were kept at the schools for four hours to avoid having to make up the day later.
   Water from the John Hydock Elementary School, which stayed in session, was brought to the elementary school by custodial staff in large jugs to keep the toilets and sinks working while the children were there, Mr. Bruni said.
   The elementary school children were dismissed at 1 p.m., while students at the middle school and high school went home at 12:10 p.m.
   "It has always been our practice to try to contact every parent," Mr. Bruni said. Teachers and staff communicated with radio and television stations to put out announcements and also placed calls to parents, he said.