The Skaneateles School District will be turning on their drinking fountains again after they were shut off as a precaution when blue-green algae was found in the lake.
In a statement to parents and community members, district superintendent Ken Slentz said the following:
Dear parents and community members – tomorrow morning we will return to using drinking fountains and filtered water stations in all schools.
This morning I was able to spend time with state level Department of Health (DOH) officials and the village engineer all of whom explained the local water system, the treatment components involved, the daily testing points including our high school (which is the point of entry of the village water into the district), the testing processes that will be utilized each day until the algae bloom is gone, and the current quality of our drinking water.
In sum, the drinking water is safe. The point at which the reported 0.25 parts per billion( ppb ) of microcystin registered was not found on the line that leads to the district and was located BEFORE the water had reached the ultraviolet and chlorination treatment system that the village uses. Water at all taps is coming back as “non-detect” which means the concentration is too low to register. That said, while EPA health advisory requires a 10 day reading at 0.30 ppb before action is taken, we are pleased that the state DOH has taken a more conservative approach and reduced that to 1 day. That is, should they receive a 0.30 ppb reading for one day on any of the many tests that they conduct, they will recommend an alternate plan for potable water for the affected municipalities. Further, the village will be conducting daily water tests and sharing the results with us. Should testing levels come back near or at the 0.30ppb, we will be prepared to immediately return to bottled water.
What has become apparent is the poor communication processes involved with this issue. These processes have resulted in a good deal of confusion in our community and led to our decision to utilize bottled water until such time as we could confidently state that our water is safe. Going forward, we will continue to work with the village, County Department of Health, and the State Department of Health to ensure consistent, fact-based information is being shared in timely and consistent fashion.
Thanks so much for your patience and diligence as we have worked on this issue.