An apparent anomaly or some contamination may have caused the Warren Elementary School’s water to fail a test for PFAS because a second test has come back with PFAS levels below the state threshold.
School and district officials are now awaiting the results of a third test and bottled water is still being used at the school.
High levels of PFAS in the drinking water at Warren Elementary School were reported to administers and staff on July 25. The school and school district learned that the school’s water exceeded state standards, almost twofold for PFAS, a group of chemical compounds widely used in manufacturing and industrial processes that have known health impacts.
Ten Vermont elementary schools were tested by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last month and two of the 10 failed, Warren and Grafton Elementary School in Windham County.
“I am writing to tell you about our second water test, which came back fine. The second water test did not show any of the contaminates measured over the limit they were concerned about. In fact, they were, this time, about half that level. The first test might have been contaminated,” said Warren Elementary School principal Elizabeth Peterson in an email correspondence to parents sent August 3.
“A third test will be done soon and we will work with the state to determine a course of action. We are still drinking bottled water at this time, however. I will send updates as I get them. As a side note, the new library carpet went in yesterday! Things are looking up at the Warren School,” wrote Peterson.
The school has its water tested monthly for coliform bacteria, and its water system is managed by Simon Operating System, Waterbury. In a correspondence with Ray Daigle, director of facilities for the Harwood Unified Union School District, Daigle learned that the state chose Warren Elementary School as one of its 10 sites to test because historically there had been issues with higher levels of some chemicals that system operators regularly test for, such as copper, lead, nitrates, etc.
Had the water problem persisted, it would mark the second year in a row that the Warren School was plagued with water issues. Last year the school suffered flooding and mold problems which delayed the start of school for a week and subsequently required the school to be relocated to Sugarbush for two weeks.
Related: PFAS plan for Warren School