We know there’s been a lot of coverage over the last week from various news-media outlets regarding the water quality in our schools. Here’s the cliffnotes version of what is going on as of Nov. 18:
District-wide Water Testing
—The school district decided to test for lead and copper long before any water quality issues arose in the district.
—This decision was based on a need to be proactive to ensure the health and safety of all of our staff.
—The state does not require school districts to do this testing, it was done because our school board and leadership team decided it was important.
Water Quality at Valley View
—The school district notified all families in the district on Oct. 26 of the fact that there was coliform bacteria in the water at Valley View.
—The coliform issue was detected by the Village as Valley View is one of 27 of the village’s regular, monthly testing locations for water quality. No other site in the village tested positive and the Village tested up and down the water line around Valley View to see if there were any other locations impacted. There were not. The coliform impacts Valley View only.
—The coliform bacteria at Valley View tested negative for e.coli.
—All bubblers are shut off at Valley View and all students, staff and visitors are given bottled water to drink since Oct. 26. The kitchen staff is also cooking with bottled water. The water is still safe for bathroom use.
—The Department of Natural Resources told us that Valley View has to test negative two times in a row in order for the water to be considered drinkable.
—It appears that the problem at Valley View may be coming from one of the supplemental underground water reservoirs that is located near the school. This reservoir is used in case of an emergency draw on the water system (like a large fire emergency) and is a mix of municipal water and well water. The reservoir has been taken offline, Valley View’s lines have been sanitized and we’re waiting on results.
—As of today, Nov. 18, the Village’s water department has informed us we have received consecutive water passing test results in multiple locations. There is one bubbler on the 2nd floor that needs a passing grade before we can allow students and staff to drink the water. The village will help us flush this area and test again on Monday morning.
Water Quality at Ben Franklin
—All families in the district were notified of the positive copper test on Nov. 16.
— At Ben Franklin, seven locations were tested for lead and copper.
—One sink in the 4K wing tested positive for copper ONLY.
—All classrooms in the 4K wing were then placed on bottled water restrictions.
—Thursday morning, Nov. 17, an additional 12 tests were done in and around the 4K wing to pinpoint the cause of the copper. We’ll have results after Thanksgiving.
— Copper can cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, however none of these things beyond the normal realm of an elementary school have been reported.