UPDATE Principal: Schools Open After Gas Leak

Principal Christopher Weikart said Thursday night Mattamuskeet Elementary and Mattamuskeet High Schools in Swan Quarter will both be open for normal school hours Friday after a gas leak shut down school Thursday morning.

Weikart says Piedmont Natural Gas completed a full evaluation of the Mattamuskeet Campus in Hyde County to ensure safety of all students and staff and found a small leak on a regulator in the kitchen as well as higher than normal concentration of mercaptan additive which is used to detect gas leaks in the gas lines. Weikart says he higher concentration was a result of an odorization equipment malfunction that releases mercaptan additive into gas lines.

Weikart says the regulator has been shut off until proper repairs are made, and Piedmont Natural Gas has removed the malfunctionin equipment.

Officials say no gas leaks were immediately found after an odor once again closed down two Hyde County schools.

Students at Mattamuskeet Elementary and Mattamuskeet High schools were released around 9:15 a.m. Thursday. High school principal Christopher Weikart says the schools were closed due to the small amount of mercaptan, that's the additive that gives natural gas its odor. Weikart says the smell was detected in the cafeteria around 8:40 a.m. and administrators followed the school's safety program to release students.

Three years ago around this same time of year the schools were closed multiple times because of natural gas odor. Then, Piedmont Natural Gas believed it corrected the problem by flushing the gas lines.

After today's odor was investigated, Piedmont Natural Gas said there was no leak at the school.

The gas company said it was also purging lines of odorant near the ABC store on U.S. 264 this afternoon.

The principal says they will notify parents tonight whether classes will resume Friday.

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