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Tower paint contaminated school water, officials say


Paint from a water tower that supplies the five-school South River complex in Edgewater probably was what contaminated the water supply in October and led to one of the schools being closed for three days, officials said yesterday.

The inside of the million-gallon tank had been painted a few months before a kerosenelike odor was detected Oct. 3 in a drinking fountain at one of the schools, prompting school officials to turn off water to the complex.

Officials could not say for certain the water tower paint was the cause of the odor, but consider it the "most likely source" of the tainted water, according to a letter being sent home to parents from county and school officials. Some materials in the paint were similar to what was in the water.

The school system provided four of the five schools with bottled and potable water. But Central Special School for severely disabled children was closed three days. Many students were unable to open bottles, the therapy pool was closed and personal hygiene needs could not be met.

The school system spent about $10,000 on water, temporary plumbing connections, a tanker and testing, officials said.

Low levels of five solvents were detected in the county water supply in that area. The levels were within federal limits for some of the solvents, but no federal guidelines exist for the others.

Pub Date: 12/12/96

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