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Bethel schools expected to reopen Sept. 14 after water line repair

A pipe leaking water beside the boardwalks on Akakeek Street.
Sunni Bean
A pipe leaking water beside the boardwalks on Akakeek Street.

Some schools in Bethel couldn’t operate today because of a water line break at the Bethel Heights water plant. There was no school on Wednesday, Sept. 13, for Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat, Gladys Jung Elementary, Bethel Regional High School, and Bethel preschools. Kuskokwim Learning Academy, ANSEP, and Ayaprun Elitnaurvik did have school. Other residents in Bethel's Housing neighborhood also reported water outages.

City of Bethel Director of Public Works Bill Arnold said that he noticed that there was no water pressure around 4 a.m. on Sept. 13. When they were working on the repair of the PVC water pipe today, another line broke when they turned the water back on. They are currently working on repairing the second break. Arnold thinks that the breaks are being caused by the building shifting. He said that they expect to have the water back online around 8:00 p.m. The school district said that they plan to open schools tomorrow.

At the Sept. 12 city council meeting, council member Eric Whitney raised the issue of another water leak on Akakeek Street.

“There's a significant leak of water running out of the pipes,” said Whitney. And you notice it if you're going on to the boardwalk section from the Akakeek entrance. That has been going on all summer. And there's got to be hundreds and hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that we've treated, and that we’ve just dumped in.”

According to the city manager, the city is working on the repair but is waiting on the parts to arrive. They were sent from New York and were supposed to arrive weeks ago. Mayor Rose “Sugar” Henderson added that she believes those parts were ordered months and months ago.

Sunni is a reporter and radio lover. Her favorite part of the job is sitting down and having a good conversation.