Low water pressure and minor flooding from a restroom near the south entrance, ground floor of Harwood Union Middle and High School resulted in students being sent home at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, February 16. Athletic practices for that afternoon were canceled but the boys’ basketball game did take place that night.


The school was on a boil water order until Sunday, February 18, when test results came back indicating the water was safe to drink.

Harwood Unified Union School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter said that the issues began with low water pressure throughout the school around 11 a.m. Friday. This was followed by minor flooding from a restroom near the south entrance ground floor. Water was shut off at approximately 11:15 a.m. until the source of the issue could be identified.

“As superintendent I made the decision to dismiss both Harwood students and staff early due to the resulting health and safety concerns with a lack of water in the building since there was no immediate indication of the source of the problem,” Leichliter wrote in an email to the school community.

“Later in the afternoon following student dismissal, the school’s maintenance staff was able to determine that a faulty valve on a toilet in an isolated area of the building was the source of the problem. This faulty valve caused an inordinate amount of water to be used in conjunction with other normal water use, dropping the pressure in the system. This resulted in other automatic valves not closing making the pressure drop even more,” he explained.

He said that students and staff may have noticed discolored water along with mineral deposits in sinks, water faucets, and toilets, the result of buildup on the old pipes throughout the building. When the water pressure drops, mineral deposits can come loose from the pipes and surface.

Attached to this email is a boil water notice which is required as a condition of our water system permit. Any time there is a drop in system pressure the school is required to notify all users of the issue. This notice will be lifted as soon as the school receives satisfactory results from the Department of Health lab for the samples that were shipped to them this afternoon.

In addition, all afternoon athletic practices hosted at Harwood Middle/High School are canceled for today February 16, 2024. Please note, hockey practices will be held as normal. Additional communication will be sent later this afternoon updating the community on the status of the boys’ basketball game scheduled for 5:30 and 7 p.m. tonight. 

All other HUUSD schools will remain in session and on a normal schedule.