School district closes temporarily as town looks to fix water quality

HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — A local school system closed their doors as concern for the town’s water quality rises.

Huntingdon City Hall

Some residents of Huntingdon are experiencing problems with the quality and color of their water.

Nina Smothers, the Mayor of Huntingdon, says they learned this issue on Monday.

“We were informed on Monday that there were several concerns from households regarding the color of the water,” Smothers said.

Tony White, who is with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, said that he suspects an aerator could be stopped up to the point of not removing the C02.

Huntingdon Water Department

He says they have also had troubles with the hydrated lime feeder that helps the water become less corrosive.

“Our immediate priority is to restore the water plant’s production of quality water. By adjusting the water’s pH levels to reduce corrosiveness, we aim to ensure the distribution of good water from the plant,” White said.

The Huntingdon Special School District closed their doors on Tuesday.

Dr. Jonathan Kee, the Director of Schools, says this decision was made in the best interest of students and staff. He says they are taking this situation one day at a time.

Huntingdon High School

“Given the ongoing efforts by local officials to resolve the issue, and after discussions with them last night, I believed it was prudent to close the school today. This provides us time to assess the extent of the local water condition,” Kee said.

Kee says he is hopeful that they will be back in school soon and that he is confident in the local officials to get this resolved.

On Tuesday, tests were conducted to ascertain the root cause of the water issue.

Tuesday afternoon, we received communication from Recorder Kim Carter that states:

As of 3:30 PM 8-15-2023, the Huntingdon Water Plant is running with appropriate PH measurements. A plastic pipe in the lime administration delivery was found to be obstructed; the lime process is now working properly. Hydrants in the identified areas have been flushed since 12 noon today. Flushing will continue into the evening as long as tank levels support flow. The aerator process has been verified for best efficiency. The Town of Huntingdon wishes to thank Tony Wyatt with Tennessee Association of Utility Districts for his support and assistance today. Also, thank you to Barsto Construction, J R Wauford Engineering, and WTPUD for their help today. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and concern related to their water supply. The utility department employees have worked diligently over the last 48 hours to diagnose and resolve water needs.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, the Huntingdon Special School District says after consulting with state and local officials, schools will be open on Wednesday.

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