Martel school closed after sewer backs up; scarf pulled from toilet

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LEWISTON — A scarf flushed down a toilet at Martel Elementary School appears to have contributed to a sewer backup that has closed the school until at least Monday, Superintendent Bill Webster said Thursday.

Webster announced via social media Thursday that crews from Servpro will continue Friday cleaning up sewage that overflowed on the first floor. He said a robocall was going out to parents and guardians explaining the situation.

Employees from Able Power Rooter of Lewiston were clearing drains Thursday afternoon, and a photo from Webster showed an employee holding up a flannel scarf that was extracted from a toilet. 

It was not immediately known whether the scarf alone caused the problem. Webster said it could be tree roots in the sewer or something else contributing to the backup.

School administrators will decide by 5 p.m. Sunday if the school will open Monday.

As for the scarf, nobody was quite sure who it belonged to or how it got into the toilet in the first place.

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“Nobody has come forward to claim ownership,” Webster said.

An employee of Able Power Rooter pulled a scarf out of a toilet drain at Martel Elementary School in Lewiston on Thursday. School officials announced the school will be closed Friday, Sept. 7, following a sewer backup that impacted the entire lower level of the building. (Photo courtesy Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster) 

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