(October 27, 2022)—An unacceptable level of coliform bacteria was found late last week after water samples were taken from both Leonardtown Middle School and the James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center, which are co-located on Point Lookout Road.
Hand washing stations as well as bottled water were made available for students and staff until contaminants could be brought back down to acceptable levels.
Superintendent Dr. J. Scott Smith told The County Times that normal water service would take several days to reestablish.
"We probably won't have regular water service until Thursday," Smith said.
The water at both facilities comes from a well and has yet to test positive for e-coli bacteria, according to Smith.
"But even with a negative test we can't say that it wouldn't appear," Smith said.
A letter to parents of students at the facilities was released Oct. 24.
"The presence of total coliform mandates that certain precautions be taken to ensure the safety of the individuals who use the affected water supply," the missive reads.
The samples were taken on Oct. 20 and the results returned the following day.
"On Monday… [the] Department of Maintenance delivered bottled water and hand sanitizer to both sites and signage was posted to alert staff and students," the letter reads. "Remediation includes chlorination of the entire water supply system at both sites.
"As chlorine is an irritant, alternative water supplies have been provided for drinking and handwashing."
Smith said finding contaminants of this nature were not "an uncommon occurrence" for water drawn from a well.
The water would have to be tested at least three more times, he said, both to ensure the contaminants had been eradicated and chlorine brought down to acceptable levels.
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