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Sep 23, 2016 1:36 PM

NH elementary school treated for bacteria in water, resulted in water pressure drop


FREMONT — A recent water sample from Ellis School tested positive for bacteria, followed by a water pressure drop after the bacteria was treated.

Ellis School has water samples tested on a quarterly basis by the Department of Environmental Services. Last Friday Seacoast Analytical reported that a recent water sample tested positive for coliform bacteria, Superintendent Betsey Cox-Buteau said.

Coliform bacteria is an indicator organism, which is not really much of a concern but it does herald the possible presence of more concerning bacteria, Cox-Buteau said.

The well was immediately treated with chlorine pellets. The pellets remained in the well for twelve hours to eradicate any living organism. They then were flushed out to remove the chlorine. This was taken care of over the weekend, according to Cox-Buteau.

The well was flushed on Sunday and there was a noticeable drop in water pressure on Monday afternoon. The Supervisor of Building and Grounds, David Perkins, was able to route valves to get water moving around the building for the rest of the school day, Cox-Buteau said.

The problem worsened on Tuesday, so Epping Well and Pump was called to replace the well pump. Bubblers were closed due to minor discoloration and the trace scent of chlorine in the water since the new pump had been lightly chlorinated. Principal Andrew Haas brought bottled water into the school for students.

Students received a half-day of school on Wednesday because once again the water pressure dropped. The school was able to soft-test the system, and by Thursday the water seemed to hold fine while students were in the building, Cox-Buteau said.

A Thursday afternoon test of the water showed that things had improved, but not to where it could be best serving the building, so an additional water storage tank was added, Cox-Buteau said.

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