Private schools conduct independent water testing - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Private schools conduct independent water testing after contamination

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Private schools using bottled water to wash hands and drink Private schools using bottled water to wash hands and drink

While a Rapid Response Team has assembled to respond to water incidents at WV public schools, many private schools say they have received little help or guidance from the state.  

Dana Gilliland, head of Mountaineer Montessori School in Charleston, said state officials paid one visit to the school following the crisis, and she felt the data received wasn't detailed enough.  

"The National Guard came in and did their test like they did in all schools, but there wasn't a lot of information," said Gilliland. "All it said was ND – nothing detected."  

Like many other private schools, Mountaineer Montessori decided to pay for its own independent testing. Water samples were sent to TestAmerica to check for MCHM levels.  

"We collected four samples from hot and cold and different places," said Gilliland. "The results came back below one part per million."  

Teachers are allowing students to wash their hands at school sinks, but more tests will be completed before drinking from water fountains is allowed. In the following weeks, the school will continue carrying out a testing a flushing plan that was designed by George Phillips, a parent with chemical engineering expertise.  

"We have the initial data point from late January, so we plan to do some things here at school before we bring the company back for another round of samples," said Phillips. "Then we'll look at how the value in the water has changed to see if [the MCHM] levels have decreased or gone back up."  

The school has spent $700 on the private tests and expects to conduct five more at a cost of $175 for each. Although the price of bottled water and the tests come with a hefty price tag, staff members say it's a small price to pay when it comes to the safety of the children.

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