Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Water turned brown at this WJCC middle school

The water at a Williamsburg-James City County school ran murky last week, resulting in a shut-down of the hot water system.

There was a faculty valve in boiler room Friday for the hot water system at Toano Middle School that had to be replaced, said Eileen Cox, spokeswoman for the district. Cox said this was not something that was planned but needed to be replaced immediately as part of routine maintenance.

During the replacement, a plumber with WJCC operations maintenance staff turned off the water in a portion of the building. However, when it was turned back on and started to flush the line, sediment infiltrated the system and contaminated the water. The sediment also caused a temporary discoloration of the water.

Cox, who pointed out she’s not a plumber, said it is her understanding that this is a normal complication.

The hot water had to be turned off at Toano Middle School on Friday after sediment got into the system. (WYDaily/Courtesy Alecia Driscoll)
The hot water had to be turned off at Toano Middle School on Friday after sediment got into the system. (WYDaily/Courtesy Alecia Driscoll)

There was not a health concern, Cox said, because the water in the kitchens are on a separate system and therefore were not impacted. Additionally, students were able to wash there hands because there was still running water in the building, just not hot water.

To correct the issue, the water had to be turned off for a couple hours again as a plumber worked on the system, Cox said. 

Later on Friday, the system was fully functional and the water was turned on again. The only cost was for the replaced valve, which was $256.

But the school still contracted a plumber to check in on the system over the weekend to make sure everything was still working properly. Cox said so far, there have not been further issues.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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