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School Officials Explain Water Testing Conducted At GW High School

Reported: Feb. 7, 2014 1:52 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 7, 2014 4:30 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- The West Virginia Department of Education released details on Friday about how water testing for MCHM was conducted at George Washington High School.

The Rapid Response Team sampled water at George Washington late Thursday afternoon. Three labs independently tested that water. Testing by two labs resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 parts per billion, according to a news release from the West Virginia Department of Education. The third lab detected MCHM at 0.018 parts per million.

That 0.018 ppm reading more than meets the screening guideline for protecting public health provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the release said. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has directed the more rigorous screening level of 10 ppb, however.

That result prompted the team to draw an additional sample Friday morning from George Washington High School. Two labs have tested that sample and each resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 ppb. The school will be reflushed over the weekend and further testing will occur. The release said all results will be made public once they are confirmed.

Members of the Rapid Response Team believe that the 0.018 ppm reading may reflect a variance that can occur given variables in analytical chemistry and the small amounts involved. Team members also said that each lab is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and continue to follow quality control procedures to ensure accurate results.

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 George Washington High School since Thursday.

The West Virginia Department of Education said Kanawha County Schools have followed all flushing protocols and in many cases have gone beyond requirements in an effort to ensure student safety. We also continue to provide bottled water, cook with bottled water, and make available hand sanitizer.

In addition, George Washington High School was tested last week and it was reported at the non-detect level.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County school official said crude MCHM was discovered Friday morning in the water supply of George Washington High School at a higher level than the non-detect level used to declare schools safe.

Terry Hollandsworth with Kanawha County Schools said a National Guard Test indicated the chemical was at 18.33 parts per billion – higher than the 10 parts per billion level that is being used as the non-detect level for schools.

As a result, the water will start to be purged Saturday morning and then the system will be retested. GW students were allowed to remain in school.

Meanwhile, Nasandra Wright, sanitarian supervisor with the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, said 13 other schools in Kanawha County where complaints previously surfaced about a chemical odor have tested at the acceptable non-detect level,



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