School evacuated for sewer backup on Monday

Frozen pipe to blame

With more than a whiff of adolescent irony, students and staff at the Crested Butte Community School got a back-to-school swirly after a sewer pipe froze, causing a backup of gray water and gases and the evacuation of the building Monday afternoon, January 6.



Superintendent Doug Tredway said a vent pipe had been clogged with packed snow over the holiday break, resulting in a frozen pipe under the employee parking lot east of the school.
“Once the students got in there things slowly started to back up and we did have some sewage back-up into the school,” Tredway said. “That was just in a few areas.” Those areas were isolated and the effluent was handled.
“But eventually the odor got to the point that we just decided to get everybody out of the building,” Tredway said. The air circulation system was turned off to avoid re-circulating the foul air, which was instead vented out of the building.
After being evacuated from the school, elementary students were sent to the Center for the Arts and secondary students were sent to Town Hall to finish the day waiting for a designated person to come pick them up.  
For those students who weren’t picked up at one of the off-site locations, school buses stuck with the regular schedule. Shortly after the evacuation, parents got an email informing them of the morning’s events. A second email went out later that evening informing parents that school would be reopened the following day.
Tredway said the evacuation was a good drill for students and staff, who don’t often get the opportunity to follow the evacuation plan all the way to the off-site locations, adding that he was pleased with how everyone involved reacted to the evacuation.
“It all went really smoothly,” he said.

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