Sawyer Elementary deals with blocked sewer

MARQUETTE – A sewer pipe blockage at K.I. Sawyer Elementary School proved to be a challenge to fix.

The Gwinn school district has hired Gwinn-based company Beauchamp Plumbing and Heating to fix the problem, which first came to light Sept. 6.

“They shot their blaster down the pipe to try to clear it and they got their blaster stuck,” said K.I. Sawyer Elementary School Principal Sandy Petrovich while addressing the school board Sept. 16. “They have been waiting the last week for the water to dissipate so they can shoot their camera down.”

Interim Superintendent Stephen Piereson said Wednesday the company was able to insert the camera Tuesday.

“They had their camera in that line, water had subsided,” Piereson said. “When I was there yesterday, they were using a vacuum to try to vacuum some of the sand out so they could get a better look.”

Piereson told the board Sept. 16 it was likely the pipe was blocked by sand.

Restrooms in the school have not been affected by the blockage.

“If there’s anything that’s fortunate about it, the restrooms in that area go into that line after, beyond where this appears to be plugged,” Piereson said while addressing the board. “It affects the sinks in those classrooms in that fifth- and sixth-grade wing and there’s a custodian closet in that area, but that’s all.”

Piereson said the blocked section of pipe was built with the expansion of the school in 1999 and that it was too soon to tell what repairs would cost, or how long they might take.

Piereson was unavailable for comment this morning, as was Petrovich.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.