Burst water main leaves Gwinnett school without water

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

Gwinnett County crews hope to complete repairs to a damaged water main sometime Thursday night, restoring service to a large subdivision and Mountain View High School.

Classes continued at the school on Sunny Hill Road Thursday, but students told Channel 2's Tony Thomas conditions were miserable.

"We were told by multiple teachers that we would go home by 10:30 a.m. or lunch if they didn't get the water back," said Sophomore Madison Mcrae as she left school for the day.

Gwinnett County school administrators activated an emergency plan. Thirty water coolers were brought in and stationed around the facility for drinking. Trucks shuttled 500 1-gallon tanks of water in to use in restrooms and to keep the air conditioning system running.

A school spokesperson said things ran as normal. Students told Thomas they weren't comfortable at all.

"I used the bathroom once and it was so gross," Mcrae said. "All the teachers were like, 'Yeah, the people in Africa don't have water ever,' and we were like, 'Yeah, but it's so terrible.'"

Fellow students agreed.

"We had to go sit out in the hallways because it was too hot," Jamie Tabares said.

Gwinnett water crews say age likely led to the 48-inch water main splitting open early Thursday morning.

Crews shut down Sunny Hill Road and spent the day making repairs. The work is expected to continue into the night.

That's not good news for residents who are trying to get by with dry faucets. Thomas caught up with Natasha Duncan as she hauled a gallon jug of water into her home.

"After a while you have to have something to drink when you are out of sweet tea," she said.

A couple miles away, George Almasam went "old school" as he described it, as he cared for two elderly women in his personal care home right next to the high school.

Luckily, he'd just bought a couple of large jugs of water on Wednesday and was using those for hand-washing and to put in the toilets for flushing.

"Eight at night? That's going to be rough. I hope we can handle it," Almasam said when told of when repairs might be completed.

The county sent workers to an area big-box store to buy cases of bottled water. They were handing them out to affected residents to help ease any discomfort until the service is returned.