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St. Lawrence Central experiences middle, high school water problems

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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 the district began experiencing problems with its water following an earthquake earlier this month in Quebec.

Superintendent Steven M. Putman said the district had planned to drill a new well as part of its upcoming capital project, but the well will be installed sooner because the middle and high school began finding discolored water with a funny smell after the early-morning quake Nov. 6.

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

The district completed a standardized test, which Mr. Putman said came back negative for coliform bacteria. The state Department of Health then “started doing a broader of array of tests,” he said.

“I sent a letter home to parents last Friday explaining what we were doing,” Mr. Putman said Tuesday. “After school got out yesterday, we got word on part of the array of tests we had done. They showed a level of glycol higher than the regulatory standard in the well water.”

He said the problem was only with the middle and high school well, which is inside the building, and did not affect the elementary school, which has its own well.

On the recommendation of the Department of Health, 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 signs on drinking fountains to let students know not to use them.

The cafeteria also is using bottled water for cooking and other activities that require water, Mr. Putman said.

He said the district is waiting for more test results and has sought permission from the state Education Department to move up the well-replacement project.

School is closed until Monday for the Thanksgiving break, but district officials already are making provisions for when students and staff return.

“Sometime in the next few days, we will be drilling a new well,” Mr. Putman said Tuesday. “Until we get a new well, we’ll be providing bottled water for the students. We may still be on bottled water for a while next week.”

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

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