Water issue idles schools, some businesses

No classes again Tuesday in Valliant, Okla.

Boil order, E. coli concerns force businesses, schools to close for another day

VALLIANT, Okla. (KSLA) — A health alert has led to the closure of schools and other services in one town in McCurtain County, Okla.

And state officials have been called in to help investigate.

The halls and classrooms in Valliant schools should be filled with students.

But that was not the case Monday. Nor will it be Tuesday.

“Everybody was kind of excited to be back. And we are not able to be here today,” said Craig Wall, superintendent of Valliant Public Schools. “We are just trying to do our best we can with it and support our city as best we can.”

Town officials were notified over the weekend about a failed water purity test in the southern part of town.

“The contaminant that was presented to us was E.coli or coliform,” Wall said.

Town maintenance director Terry Dancer said they believe the bacteria developed during road construction in the area.

“We had to relocate new water lines, sewer lines and stuff like that. And the only issue I am having is on the south side of town with the new line feeding. We are boosting chlorine.”

A boil order also has been issued. And, as a precaution, it encompasses the entire town.

That led to the closure of the schools and some businesses Monday.

The schools will remain closed Tuesday.

Meantime, town leaders met with representatives of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality on Monday.

Dancer said the water is safe for washing clothes and bathing, just not for consumption without first boiling it.

Doc’s In and Out was one of only a few businesses in Valliant that were open for business Monday.

And the main thing shoppers came seeking was water.

“This is pretty much all the water we have left right now; that is it,” a store attendant said.

The convenience store was unable to use its grill due to the water situation, store employee Angie Mathes said.

“We’ve sold more bottled products. Due to the situation, we can’t make tea or coffee or anything like that.”

Town leaders said they do not yet know how long the boil order will be in effect. Their hope, they said, is that the problem will be resolved as soon as possible.

Until then, the 1,000 students and staffers in Valliant Public Schools will stay home.

“Right now, we are going to try and do the best we can to support our town,” Wall, the school district’s superintendent, said. “Hopefully they can get this cleared up within a day or so.”

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