Janesville25.4°

Sewer backup at Wilson School remains a mystery

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Marcia Nelesen
Frank Schultz
April 8, 2011
— The cause of a sewage backup that closed Wilson School on Monday, endangering a city polling place the day before elections, might never be known.

Sewage backed up through a floor drain in the cafeteria and ponded in the cafeteria, a corridor and two staff restrooms, said school district spokeswoman Sheryl Miller.


City workers checked to see if the blockage was in the city-owned sewer. It wasn't.


School custodians were called in to clean up the mess and sanitize the area, Miller said.


School district and city workers were unable to dislodge the clog by late Monday afternoon, Miller said, so a contractor was called in.


Officials don't know the cost of the work; they're waiting for the bill from Bowers Sewer & Drain Cleaning, Miller said.


What was clogging the pipe will never be known because once it was dislodged, it flushed into the sewer main, said Dave Leeder, maintenance supervisor for the district.


Leeder does not suspect sabotage.


Classes continued Monday at nearby St. Patrick's School, and Wilson was cleaned up in time for the huge turnout in Tuesday's elections.


City administrators wanted to avoid moving the polling place.


They told utility department staff to work with the school in whatever capacity the school workers needed, even though the problem was on school property, they said.



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