Survey gives city officials road map to fix school drinking water sources

March 2, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – A survey testing every source of drinking water in the city’s public schools have presented officials with a road map for improvement.

The city participated in a voluntary program from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a written statement, “We appreciate the DEP’s assistance in testing our water and schools buildings and we will continue to address any exceedances. There is good news with these results as out of 7,148 tests conducted to date, only 2.56 percent had an exceedance.”

School Superintendent Daniel Warwick explained to Reminder Publications, a school was put in the “above action level” if just one source of drinking water had levels of either lead or copper above the acceptable threshold.

“In most situation we were very, very good – no problems,” he said.

The DEP report established three categories of the “above action level” – only lead, only copper and both lead and copper.

The schools with ‘above action levels includes:

• Only lead Above Action Level: Samuel Bowles, Daniel B Brunton, William N. Deberry, Margaret C Ells, Glickman Elementary, Frank H Freedman, Homer Street, Alfred G. Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Lincoln, Mary M Lynch, Mary O Pottenger, Mary M Walsh, Alice B Beal Elementary, Washington, White, The Springfield Renaissance School An Expeditionary Learning School, John J Duggan Middle, M Marcus Kiley Middle, Springfield Public Day Middle School, Springfield Central High, Springfield Conservatory Of The Arts (Franklin St), Springfield Public Day High School

• Both Lead and Copper Above Action Level: Milton Bradley School, Frederick Harris, Sumner Avenue, Warner, German Gerena Community School, Chestnut Accelerated Middle School (North), Springfield High School Of Science And Technology

• Only Copper Above Action Level: Rebecca M Johnson, High School Of Commerce, Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, High School Of Commerce

Warwick explained that in many instances the levels exceeded were at water bubblers where the water settled over night and was remediated by running the water first thing in the morning.

Other water sources that were contaminated were shut down, he noted. “The kids are going to be just fine,” Warwick said.

Parents were notified of the results at their child’s school, he added.

“We’re working on it school by school and bubbler by bubbler,” Warwick said.

Although Warwick said the city is fortunate to have a pure water supply such as the Cobble Mountain reservoir, many pipes delivering the water are old.

“By and large the results were positive and where they weren’t we’re fixing it,” he said.

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