McNeil HS students, staff back in class after water main break


by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist: KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 4 at 10:19 AM

AUSTIN -- Students and staff at McNeil High School will be back in class Thursday after Round Rock ISD closed the campus because of a water main break.

Austin Water Utility spokesperson Jason Hill says a contractor broke through a 24-inch main in the area on Tuesday forcing the utility to shut off water. This affected the school, more than 1,000 homes, Motorola and a nearby YMCA.

It happened in the midst of the storms that came through Central Texas, forcing crews to delay repairs.

“All that inclement weather, we had to shut down operations. That cost us another six to eight hours,” explained Hill. “Today things are looking a whole lot better. School's back in service,” said Jason Hill.

Hill says water service has since been restored, but a boil water notice remains in effect until lab tests show the water is safe to use again.

The boil water notice affects customers along East McNeil Road from Howard to Parmer Lanes and a stretch of Parmer Lane from Legendary Drive to Sage Grouse Drive.

In order to get school back in service despite the notice, Austin Water Utility worked with Round Rock ISD to develop a safety plan.

The utility company brought water to the school for students and staff and the district stocked hand sanitizer in all of the restrooms. However showers on campus remain closed off to students and bags have been placed over the drinking water fountains.

Instead, RRISD is allowing students to bring their own water bottles to campus. The district also says that the food service team at McNeil has been notified of the boil water notice and has water that is safe to use for meal preparation. RRISD says breakfast and lunch will be served as usual.

Students at McNeil missed part of the state's STAAR exam due to the water main break. The writing portion of STAAR was scheduled for Wednesday. It has now been rescheduled for Friday.