Hollis Brookline High School opening delayed by E. coli in water
Friday, August 30, 2013
HOLLIS – Hollis Brookline High School students received one more day of summer vacation after E. coli was found in the school’s water system.
The bacteria was found in one of the school’s four wells during a routine water check Aug. 15, Principal Cindy Matte said Monday, Aug. 26. A second well was found to be contaminated with fecal coliform.
While school officials were hopeful the decontamination process would be complete last week, delays have forced the high school to hold off opening one day, bringing freshmen in on Thursday, Aug. 29 and all upperclassmen on Friday, Aug. 30.
“Steps have been taken to correct the situation,” Matte wrote in an alert to parents Monday. “After consultation with Superintendent Dr. John Moody, we have arrived at the difficult decision to delay the start of the school year … The safety of our students is our top priority.”
The water issues do not impact any other town schools, Matte said.
Since the bacteria was discovered Aug. 15, school officials and staff in the building have been unable to use the water, except for flushing toilets.
While only two of the school wells were contaminated, the water from all four is sent to a holding tank where it is then sent into the school’s pipes.
The four wells have been drained, and the entire system has been flushed with heavily chlorinated water. After the pipes have been flushed, Matte said, clean water also must be flushed through the system, to ensure all chlorination is gone.
Before the water can be deemed clean, it had to pass two state regulated water tests. It’s not the first time the high school and other town schools have had water issues.
In 2010, the town’s elementary schools were short on water and officials took emergency measures, including asking students and staff to bring bottled water to school.
Leaks were discovered in the system that supplies the middle school from Rocky Pond Road the same year, and by 2011, the high school’s wells were struggling to produce enough water for the school.
The school board voted that year to add a fourth well to the high school’s system.
Student registrations were ongoing at the high school Tuesday despite the water issues.
Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or dcurtis@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Curtis on Twitter (@Telegraph_DC).