The City of Lamesa is under a boil water notice after a leak in a city main on Tuesday. While residents in Lamesa lost water pressure Tuesday, water flow has been since restored. But residents are being asked to boil city water before drinking or cooking with it until the water can be tested to make sure it’s clean.
The boil water notice was issued during the first week of the school year at Lamesa ISD, Wednesday was the third day of class. In addition to everything else which comes with back-to-school, Lamesa ISD officials have put a lot of time into making sure their schools have safe water to use.
“We’ve had a smooth first week and a really good first few days, but in education you can always expect the unexpected,” said Jim Knight, Superintendent of Schools for Lamesa ISD.
He explained that people at the school became concerned when campuses lost water pressure on Tuesday.
By 8:45 pm superintendent Knight was informed by city officials that the water would be restored for the next school day, but water used for cooking, cleaning, and drinking would have to be boiled.
Lamesa ISD got to work contacting students and staff, asking them all to bring bottled water to campus the next day. They also had maintenance turn off campus water fountains so that no one would mistakenly drink the water.
The school district also coordinated with their cafeteria caterer, Aramark, who faced some of the greatest hurdles in complying with the boil notice.
Lamesa ISD has around 2200 students at five different campuses, Knight explained, so school administrators began to worry about supplying enough water for such a large number of students.
Aramark helped helped ease some of those worries, they supplied two pallets of water which Knight described as “a lot of water bottles,” enough to last the school district campuses through the school week.
Knight said that the cafeteria employees met early before school Wednesday to go over procedures and adapt the school menus to the new water restrictions.
“They had to boil water for cleaning, washing their hands, to washing dishes, any of those type of things, and they had to use bottled water for any of the ingredients they would use [in cooking],” Knight said.
He added that the school district is grateful both to the cafeteria employees for being so adaptable and to the parents and students for expressing their support during this unusual twist in the back-to school process.
“We’re hoping it’s just two days and this is done for the weekend,” Knight said.
Knight has worked in other school districts who’ve undergone boil water notices, and feels that Lamesa ISD did an excellent job of finding safe, quick solutions. Still, the process has made him, and many others in the district appreciative of how many details go into running schools effectively.
“You don’t think about water, water is just a given, water and shelter are just a given, but they’re not always given and I guess that’s something we don’t need to take for granted,” he said.
The city of Lamesa sent water samples for testing which should be returned on Thursday or Friday, Knight explained. If those samples come back clean, the boil water notice will be lifted.