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St. Lawrence Central experiences middle, high school water issues

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BRASHER FALLS - The St. Lawrence Central School District plans to drill for a new middle and high school well earlier than anticipated after they began experiencing problems with the water following an earthquake earlier this month in Quebec.

Superintendent Steven M. Putman said they had planned to drill a new well as part of their upcoming capital project, but that project is being moved up after the middle and high school began experiencing discoloration of their water and a funny smell.

That began after the early morning quake in Quebec on Nov. 6.

“We’ve been working with the Health Department ever since,” he said.

They completed a standardized test first, which Mr. Putman said came back negative for coliform bacteria. Then the Health Department “started doing a broader of array of tests,” he said. “They showed a level of glycol higher than the regulatory standard in the well water.”

He emphasized the problem was only with the middle and high school well, which was located inside the building, and did not impact the elementary school, which has its own well.

Mr. Putman said students at the middle and high school have been advised not to use the water to wash their hands or take a shower. The district is providing bottled water and put a sign on drinking fountains to let students know not to use them.

They’re also using bottled water for cooking and other activities in the building that require water, he said.

In addition, they’re ensuring that the problem is isolated to the middle and high school, according to the superintendent, who said the elementary school and bus garage are heated using water from the middle and high school.

“In those heat loops you add glycol to the water to make sure it doesn’t freeze,” he said.

Mr. Putman said the district is still waiting for the results of more testing, and they’ve sought permission from the state Education Department to move up a well replacement project that was going to be done in their upcoming capital project.

Mr. Putman said they’re working with the district’s architectural firm and engineers to get SED approval to move ahead with drilling the new well.

School is closed until Monday for the Thanksgiving break, but they’re already making provisions for when students and staff return.

“We may still be on bottled water for a while next week,” he said.

How long it will take to drill a new well depends on how deep they have to go to reach water, Mr. Putman said.

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