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St. Lawrence Central must come up with water plan by Friday

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BRASHER FALLS — St. Lawrence Central School Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. said the district must submit a plan of action to the state Department of Health by Friday for resolving well water problems at the elementary and middle/senior high school buildings.

Ronald E. Sheppard, public health engineer for the Health Department, told district officials in a letter that plans for a disinfection system prepared by a licensed professional engineer must be provided for review and, once approved, must be installed “within a reasonable timeframe, which will be determined at a later date.”

“We have to put a plan in place by December 6,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

He said the initial plan probably will involve the installation of chlorination systems at both schools to make the water potable again.

“For us, it’s going to be a two-phase process. The first phase is going to be to make the water potable in the short term. They are just tentative plans, but it will probably entail installing chlorination systems at both the elementary and high school,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, to take care of the problem that we have right now, which is coliform, the chlorination system will do that.”

Long-term resolution of the problem, however, will involve more work and likely a capital project.

“In the bigger picture, they’ve also made recommendations in regard to our water storage tanks and piping and filtration system. That is far more encompassing and we will have to address that,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

District officials were scheduled to meet Monday with representatives from SEI Design Group, the district’s architectural firm.

“We have an engineer coming in today to look at it. They’re going to coordinate with the Department of Health directly, which will be helpful,” he said.

Funding for a capital project will have to be among their considerations when moving ahead, according to the superintendent.

“We certainly can’t address it through our general fund. This is extensive. Those improvements are going to speak to the water quality — not the potability of the water, but the actual quality of the water,” he said.

In two letters to district officials, both dated Nov. 20, Mr. Sheppard detailed the problems with the district’s well water, leading the Health Department to revoke St. Lawrence Central’s waiver to operate two wells on school property.

Mr. Sheppard noted that a routine coliform bacteria sample collected Nov. 5 at the elementary school tested positive for total coliform, but negative for e. coli.

Because numerous samples confirmed the presence of total coliform bacteria in the water system, a boil water advisory remains in effect for the schools. Fountains are shut off, bottled water is being provided and special precautions are being used in the one kitchen.

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