Letter to Parents: Balmoral Well Update
Update: January 25, 2017
Dear Balmoral Parents/Guardians:
Last week, we made you aware that sanitarians from the Will County Health Department (WCHD) Environmental Lab were at Balmoral Elementary conducting an annual check and collection of water samples from our well. On Friday, January 20th, the district received notification from WCHD stating that the water from the well at Balmoral Elementary should not be consumed until the well was chlorinated and checked for deficiencies.
The district immediately enacted our safety plan in response to the notice which included: shutting off drinking fountains, delivering bottled water, directing food service to boil water for hand washing and food preparation, and utilizing hand sanitizer in every classroom and all bathrooms. On Friday evening, district maintenance staff followed the WCHD documented procedure for chlorinating the well. After the required wait time, the WCHD staff returned yesterday to collect a second sample for testing.
This morning at approximately 10 a.m., the district learned the results of this week’s rescreening of the well water at Balmoral Elementary. The Will County Health Department reports that analysis of the second water sample shows evidence of total coliform, a collection of different kinds of bacteria. According to health officials, “total coliform bacteria are common in the environment (soil or vegetation) and are generally harmless.” According to information reported to the district by WCHD, “If a lab detects only total coliform bacteria in drinking water, the source is probably environmental and fecal contamination is unlikely. However, if environmental contamination can enter the system, pathogens could get in too. It is important to find and resolve the source of the contamination.”
We want to assure our parents that our superintendent and administration has been in constant contact with health officials who assure us that our students and staff are not in any imminent danger as a result of this finding. However, we understand and share your concern as we work to assess and determine the cause of the contamination. Our Director of Buildings & Grounds has been directed to employ the services of Layne, a global water management, construction and drilling company. The company will begin work immediately to get inside of the well to determine any deficiencies and treat the water. This elaborate project will require that no students or staff remain on the premises as bathrooms will be inoperable.
The district has developed a plan to temporarily relocate Balmoral students to the Early Learning Center (K-2nd graders) and Coretta Scott King Magnet (3rd-5th graders) on Monday, January 30, 2017. Normal school hours will remain in effect for the rest of this week. You will receive additional information by Friday, January 27, regarding transportation. Please note that start and end times for students will remain the same (9 AM – 3:35 PM) and teaching staff will travel along with their classrooms. We are working to make this a seamless transition to ensure that there is minimum disruption to the learning environment.
We ask for your continued patience and appreciate your understanding.
Dr. Nathaniel Cunningham, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools