UPDATE: Chemical Not Detected in Water Retesting at Grandview Elementary

UPDATE 2/17/14 @ 8:40 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Water test results for Grandview Elementary in Charleston have returned at non-detect levels, according to information released Monday night by Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring

On Monday, Kanawha County Schools decided to dismiss Grandview Elementary early only as a precaution, and it is expected that school will be back in session on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Non-detect means that there are no traces of MCHM at neither the 1 part per million screening level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for protecting public health nor the 10 parts per billion screen level directed by West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The Rapid Response team was sent to Grandview on Monday morning following reports of a slight licorice odor and two school employees complaining of symptoms. There were no reports of students displaying symptoms.

The Rapid Response Team is working with Grandview Elementary to re-flush and retest the water. The team is expected to revisit Grandview Elementary Tuesday morning as employees arrive.

According to the release, the safety of students continues to be a priority. Kanawha County School System has followed all flushing protocols and in many cases has gone beyond requirements in an effort to ensure student safety. The county also continues to provide bottled water, cook with bottled water and make available hand sanitizer.

The Rapid Response Team, which is made up of individuals from the West Virginia National Guard, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, the West Virginia DEP’s Division of Air Quality, the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center and the local school system, has been working with area schools to conduct inspections and additional testing.

The Rapid Response Team also visited Sharon Dawes Elementary, John Adams Middle School, and Alum Creek Elementary on Monday. There were complaints of a slight licorice odor at Sharon Dawes and John Adams. Alum Creek reported oily water in one sink, which does not appear to be related to the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River.

Test results from Sharon Dawes Elementary and Alum Creek Elementary also returned at non-detect levels. Results for John Adams Middle School are pending.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 2/17/14 @ 5:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Students who got out early Monday at Grandview Elementary, due to an odor in the water, will be back in school Tuesday.

Superintendent Ron Duerring sent out a press release Monday evening saying the Rapid Response team was sent to the school after reports of water issues, including a slight licorice odor and two school employees complaining of symptoms.

Duerring says there were no reports of students displaying symptoms.

The team is working to re-flush and retest the water at the school. They are expected to be at the school Tuesday morning as the staff arrives.

Duerring says, "The safety of students continues to be a priority. Kanawha County Schools have followed all flushing protocols and in many cases have gone beyond requirements in an effort to ensure student safety. The county also continues to provide bottled water, cook with bottled water and make available hand sanitizer."

Also Monday, the team visited Sharon Dawes Elementary and John Adams Middle School for complaints of licorice odor. They also went to Alum Creek Elementary after reports of oily water in one sink which does not appear to be related to the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River. They are still waiting for test results to return from those schools.



UPDATED 2/17/14 @ 5:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An elementary school in Kanawha County dismissed early Monday due to water issues.

Instead of going over missed lessons, students at Grandview Elementary School were getting on the bus, heading home.

Miranda Linham was working the Book Fair at her kids' school Monday. She says, "I think it's a little bit frustrating to everyone. It's just tough because we want them to get in as many educational days as possible."

They've missed days this year due to bad weather and the water crisis.

Monday, which was a holiday for many students, was scheduled to be a make-up day for kids in Kanawha County, but some staff members at Grandview smelled the same chemical that canceled school a month ago.

Kanawha County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Ron Duerring says, "We also had some complaints from adults that they had burning eyes."

Test results are not back, but it was described as a low level odor.

Linham says she knew what the smell was right away. "There's a little bit of an odor in the building. There's definitely a licorice type smell in there. They're here today and they have an odor so there's more trouble again."

As frustrating as the situation is, parents feel fortunate schools are working to keep their kids safe.

Dr. Duerring says, "We do have experts that can come in and test the water. We do have the ability to have the right people in to do the flushing protocols if there is something, and we're making sure that we're not cooking with tap water and there's hand sanitizers and bottled water and the fountains are closed. There couldn't be a safer place for those children than at school"



ORIGINAL STORY 2/17/14 @ 11:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An elementary school in Kanawha County is dismissing early due to water issues.

An automated message from Kanawha County Schools reports the school is closing at 12:15 a.m. due to an odor in the water.

This isn't the first time this has happened since the water emergency back on January 9 when a chemical leak at Freedom Industries contaminated the water.

Since then, several schools have dismissed early when the odor was detected. In a couple of cases, teachers and students complained the smell made them sick.

Kanawha County adopted a new policy earlier this month on how to react to the water problem.

According to school officials, when someone smells the chemical in the water, a team from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and school administration will go and test the water immediately before any immediate decision is made to send students home.

Superintendent Ron Duerring says when the "low level odor" was detected Monday at Grandview Elementary, the team tested the water. However, some teachers were complaining about their eyes burning so the county made the decision to close school early as a safety precaution.

Duerring says the school will go through the flushing process again.

Results have not come back from Monday's tests.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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