Raymond school open as officials seek water fix

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District officials are continuing to work through solutions for providing water to Raymond Elementary students.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contacted Marysville Schools about the water supply at Raymond Elementary School. Health officials said the building’s drinking water exceeds the USEPA Health Advisory Level (HAL) for antimony, a rare but a naturally occurring element. District officials were told not to allow the students to ingest the water or even to cook with it. All water fountains in the building, even those in individual classrooms were disabled.

As a result, district officials closed Raymond Elementary on Monday while they worked through a plan to provide safe water for students and staff.

“We don’t have a resolution for it yet,” Marysville Superintendent Diane Mankins said.

She said there is a temporary fix in place, but officials want test results from the EPA before they can make any long-term fixes.

For now, Mankins said, the building has “five, large watering stations throughout the building.”

She said the stations have cups available but many of the students are bringing their own water bottles.

“We have very large containers for water for the kitchen staff to use,” Mankins said. “We are working with a company that is bringing that in.”

Officials have said the water is safe to be used for cleaning, washing hands or cleaning dishes.

Mankins said the EPA has conducted testing throughout the week and is hoping to have some test results as early as today.

“They told us it would be the end of the week at the earliest before we would know anything, so this is not unexpected, but we want to wait until we have some of those answers before we really make decisions,” Mankins said.

She has said district officials believe the building water could be undrinkable for “quite a while.” Mankins said. “We do not believe this is short term — just a couple weeks.”

EPA officials are working to determine where the antimony is coming from.

EPA officials cited a World Health Organization statement that “antimony is not normally a raw water contaminant.”

A notice from the EPA said testing did not find “detectable levels” of antimony in the district wells. Mankins said antimony could be coming from the building’s well, the pipes, fittings or something else.

“The most common source of antimony in drinking-water appears to be dissolution from metal plumbing and fittings,” according to the EPA advisory.

The EPA tests for antimony every three years. Officials said there was no antimony when the building’s water was tested in 2016. Once the water is safe to drink, the EPA will test quarterly for antimony.

Officials have said the detection of antimony is “rare and does not pose an immediate threat” but according to the EPA advisory, “some people who drink water containing antimony well in excess of the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Levels) over many years could experience increases in blood cholesterol and decreases in blood sugar.”

A notice from the EPA advised, “Do not boil the water. Boiling, freezing or letting water stand does not reduce antimony levels.

Officials said they will communicate with parents and hold a parents’ meeting “when test results are complete and more information is available from the EPA.”

Parents with questions or wanting more information are being asked to call Raymond Elementary School Principal Carol Lentz at (937) 578-7200.



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