St. Croix public schools closed by water main break to reopen today

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A water main ruptured near Aureo Diaz housing community on St. Croix on Monday morning, forcing three schools in the area to send students home early.

Charles Emanuel Elementary School was dismissed first, about 10 a.m.

Eulalie Rivera Elementary and Evelyn Williams Elementary schools were dismissed just before 1 p.m.

The children were fed lunch and school buses were dispatched to pick up the students.

V.I. Water and Power Authority spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn said work crews were out to assess the problem immediately.

She said it took some time for Innovative to identify the company's fiber optic, so that repairs would not harm the cables.

"By 4 p.m., between Estate Paradise and Estate Mountain, because we're rerouted some water lines, they will begin having water, which puts water back to Eulalie Rivera school," Dunn said Monday afternoon.

"They will also be rerouting water so Aureo Diaz and Charles Emanuel school will also be getting water," she said.

"The fact of the matter is we have very, very, old pipes," Dunn said. "We are continuing to look for grants or some assistance through legislation that will assist us in replacing these very old pipes."

She said some of the water system's pipes are 60 years old, and the typical lifespan of a water pipe is about 20 to 30 years.

V.I. Education Department spokeswoman Ananta Pancham said based on assurances from WAPA, the three affected schools are planning to open today as usual.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email

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