District seeks water problem answers at Dingman campus

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:00

    LORDS VALLEY - School officials are trying to cap nagging water quality problems at the Dingman-Delaware campus, but parents are skeptical. The Delaware Valley School directors last week okayed $7,500 to fund an engineering study with a goal of consolidating the water system for the three school buildings. The district building’s supervisor said “a Cadillac approach” to solving the problem was being taken. “Four years ago, you told us that this was a top of the line system and since then you’ve had two violations. I want to see this solved.” one Dingman parent complained. The state has declared the water safe at the middle school on Jan. 10, six days after the most recent incident. But on Jan. 19 officials said they were continuing to supply bottled water for drinking and food preparation for its 730 students. Marvin Eversdyke, the district’s director of support services told the school board that he believes the incident was caused when a contractor, who was doing a periodic cleaning of the well, tapped into the power for the building water, triggering release of a solution used to correct the acidic pH of the well water. However, with the winter break, the storage tanks where the mix is made were empty and the solution entered the system unmixed. A custodian reportedly discovered the problem before the opening of school on Jan. 4 and the entire system was flushed and reactivated with proper solution levels. Consulting engineer, Mike Weeks said the study would seek ways to eliminate the troublesome middle school well. Weeks characterized the primary school well as good. He reported the elementary school well has no iron or manganese, but has “a corrosive pH level. His completed study is expected by the next board meeting on Feb. 16. Eversdyke said a sophisticated flow lock-down device has been installed and the district is waiting for engineers recommendations on any additional equipment. A state Department of Environmental Protection inspection led to a recommendation that the pH solution strength be halved and that two additional employees be trained in operating the water system. Eversdyke said the district was not cited for the incident. Superintendent Dr. Candis Finan said accusations that the district was ignoring Dingman’s water problems were untrue. “We’ve put $138,000 into the well and worked closely with (their engineers) McGoey, Hauser and Edsall for a ($750,000) grant to install a water tower,” which the district failed to win. Board member Jack Fisher said the incident was an anomaly. “(The system) did was it was supposed to do, what it was told to do. We gave it the wrong input.” Concerned parents continued to question board priorities during a later debate about building new bleachers at the high school stadium. When one woman complained about graduation seating for her son in the stadium, another replied, “My son can’t even turn on a tap and get clean water. That’s a priority.”