Workers unclog pipes at Canfield High School

The sediment was tested and is not harmful.
CANFIELD -- Imagine kitty litter clogging your water pipes.
Now you can imagine what workers fixing water pipes at Canfield High School went through when the water was turned on after the pipes were repaired, but none came out.
Rich Archer, business manager for Canfield schools, told the board of education Wednesday that after a very mucky situation, he believes everything is finally under control.
Archer said that about a week ago, an outside contractor was replacing several pipe elbows that were leaking and also had to replace a valve. While the contractor worked, the water was turned off.
Archer said the pipes looked clean. But after the water was turned back on, there were reports of no water in some sections of the building.
He said workers blew out the lines and found "this stuff" -- a sediment made up of large brown crumbs that did indeed resemble cat litter. He passed around a box of it to board members.
"We had it tested and they're telling me it's calcium carbonate," he said. "We spent five days cutting lines and blowing them down to get it out."
Archer said that having the water off for four days caused the problem. The sediment built up on the inside of the pipes, cracking and flaking. Then when the water was turned back on, the sediment was flushed through the pipes, clogging them. It happened only in the hot water pipes.
Archer said the problem of clogging was most apparent in the newer section of the high school, but that is likely because that section is the end of the water system. "It shot through to the end of the system," he said.
Archer said the calcium carbonate formed in the pipes because of hot water reacting with chemicals added to keep water safe.
He said the water is safe to drink, because tests have shown the sediment is not harmful.

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