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Huron Valley Schools Dispels Rumors of Water Contamination at Highland Middle School

School officials say the water is not safe because the building has been vacant and the water stagnant. The septic system and surrounding wells are safe.

Huron Valley Schools officials say there is no issue with the septic field at Highland Middle School, and that signs posted about the drinking water are the result of the building being shut down. Those signs have caused concerned in the community.

"The building has been vacant for a long time and that water system has not been flushed, that's why we posted those signs" Kim Root, director of communications for the school district, said. "When we made the decision to not chlorinate the system, like we do with the others, the county asked that a notice be posted so that people do not drink the water."

Root added that workers in the building, preparing it for asbestos removal, have been provided bottled water to drink by the district.

"The water at Highland Elementary and the surrounding area is fine. We are frequently testing the water at all district buildings, as required, to make sure it's safe for our students and staff," Root said.

Postings on a local Facebook Page, Save Highland Middle School, voiced concern over the signs.

Pete Szerszen runs the Facebook page and said in an email to Patch, "I have heard nothing from the district and this notice, posted on the door of the south entrance, was the first news to me that the water here is unsafe. I know of at least two parents who have children at Highland Elementary who are concerned about contaminants there as well."

The district decided earlier this year to not chlorinate the system at Highland Middle School, as it does at the other buildings, because the school was vacant. According to Root, "There was a need to spend that money."

Rick Hamill, Highland Township supervisor, said he was aware of the signs and that the township office's water supply has been fine, "Everything is fine here as far as I know. We haven't had any issues. That building has been vacant for so long, it's not unusual for the stagnant water to be unsafe for drinking."

Tami Hall January 17, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Come drink the water at Highland Elementary then. Teachers don't have too drink it, be sure to use the fountain by the cafeteria, that one smells especially yummy. The water issue isn't something new, and neither is the septic. It has backed up on playground at least two times since we've been there.
J.C. Pennypincher January 18, 2013 at 09:00 PM
I am not sure how the building being vacant would cause a spike in total coliform. If anything, I would suspect the reason listed would be an increase in heavy metals from corrosion of the plumbing.
J.C. Pennypincher January 18, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Also keep in mind that the notice states that the district is working with the Health Department to determine the cause. It sounds like they clearly know the cause (a vacant building). Why would the notice say this?

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