Sewage leak closes Bear River Middle School

Feb 9, 2024, 6:11 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 11:34 am

GARLAND, Box Elder County — Workers will spend the weekend deep-cleaning parts of Bear River Middle School after approximately 1,000 gallons of sewage spilled inside.

Administrators said the problem wasn’t quite as bad as it sounded as all of that sewage was out of reach from students and staff. The bigger challenge for the weekend will be getting rid of the smell.

The halls of Bear River Middle School were empty Friday because of Thursday’s discovery.

“The school was smelly,” said Bear River student Benjamin Call. “Like, I had to have my sixth hour in the computer lab instead of in the band room.”

He said didn’t smell much of it but he learned something was up after his class was moved further away from the problem.

“They found a sewer line, a 4-inch cast iron sewer line had broken,” said Corey Thompson, director of facilities at the Box Elder School District.

Crawlspace where the leak was found

The smell was much worse in crawl spaces than the building itself. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

He said the break led to the spill but luckily it wasn’t in a bathroom, classroom or hallway.

“And as they investigated, they opened up the access tunnels under the building where our utilities are and found that the smell was even worse,” Thompson said.

Maintenance workers were able to fix the leak but the cleanup is going to take some professional help.

Corey Thompson

Corey Thompson said clean up will completed in time for classes to resume on Monday. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“It was quite a bit. It was pretty substantial,” Thompson added.

He said students were sent home purely because of the smell.

“We have gas sniffers that’ll sniff out any toxic fumes or dangerous substances and there was zero read on that,” Thompson said.

Hose in hallway

Hoses were all over the school hallways as crews cleaned up the mess and smell. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Thompson believes it should be business as normal on Monday.

Students like Call looked forward to setting aside the virtual learning.

“Yeah, seeing all my friends too,” Call said.

Thompson said the cleanup company will be back at the school Saturday pressure-washing and steam cleaning that access tunnel.

There’s also a chemical treatment to help get rid of the smell.

Pump truck

A pump truck outside of the school powered the vacuums that cleaned up the spill. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

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Sewage leak closes Bear River Middle School