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Water problems hassle residents and dismiss school early

Homeowners are describing it as a disaster… discovering inches of sewer water in their basements after a major water main break in Bettendorf, Iowa on Thursday, February 14th, 2013.

It happened around 11:00am at the intersection of Woodland Lane and Hillside Drive, near Grant Wood Elementary School. The stop in water service forced school officials to dismiss students early.

City Administrator, Decker Ploehn says 28 homes are affected by the eight-inch water main break, which was so powerful it entered into the city’s sewer system, which created a surcharge in the line. He says Iowa American Water crews hope to have clean water back to residents by Friday, February 15th, 2013 at 12pm.

However, the clean-up will take much longer than that. One homeowner, Jana Michaelis, was forced to gut her entire basement, which is also her 17-year-old business – Jana Michaelis Family Day Care.

“It was right before lunch and one of my three-year-olds had to go to the bathroom and she said – ‘Janna, there is something wrong with the potty,'” Jana explained to News 8 on Thursday.

Walking into her bathroom, Jana saw the problem.

“It was just like a geyser,” Jana describes. “It was just gushing out the top of the toilet. It didn’t take very long to fill everything.”

Outside, Hillside Drive had turned into a river in front of Jana’s house. Her neighbor, Randy Wymore, captured the video above after realizing his wet basement was probably not the only one.

“When I took the first five-gallon pal of muddy water out to dump it, then I saw Iowa American Water was here and we had a water main break outside,” says Wymore. “The thing about dirty water is water is hydrolic and it gets everywhere. It went from the source room to the next room to the next room and it’s just a constant battle to try and find where it goes to.”

Jana says she has to throw away almost everything in her basement.

“Usually we have many toys on the shelves and science things and books and blocks… but they’re outside in garbage bags right now.”

And hopefully with some help – and some luck – she’ll be back to business soon.

City Administrator Ploehn says the city sent a letter to all the residents affected, which included a list of restoration contractors that the city will pay for to help with the clean-up. The city is also going to start daily curb pick-ups on Friday, February 15th to help with the expected bulk of garbage.

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