Dear HPS Families,
We wanted to provide you with an update on our water testing and remediation efforts. As a reminder, in September of this year, the Holyoke Public Schools voluntarily opted to participate in a statewide program to test both lead and copper in our schools’ drinking water. We received both funding and technical support from the state Department of Public Health (DPH) and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct this testing in October. We were one of 179 communities (out of 351 in the state) to participate so that we could assure the health and safety of our entire learning community. In November, we provided you with our results and shared details of the actions we took to respond to the information received. Below you find additional information on our progress across the school district.
- Most of the faucets that failed were not used for drinking. Our action for these faucets was to put “Hand Wash Only” signs so that students and staff know that these faucets are not for water consumption.
- Many of the faucets that required action simply required a flushing process every day to make sure that the water is not sitting dormant. Our custodial and kitchen staff have been following this flushing protocol daily so that students have access to clean water. There are some faucets that will be tested again to ensure that they continue to pass after a 30 second flush.
- Some faucets were taken offline and bagged temporarily and the plan is to have a plumber professionally close the faucet and remove the bags.
- School leaders have made us aware of concerns around access to clean water and in some cases we have and/or are arranging for new water bubblers to be deployed to those schools that don’t have enough water stations.
We encourage you to read the DPH documents at the following link: www.mass.gov/dph/lead-sources. As we shared before, the challenge we face is not uncommon for older school buildings across the state. The safety and well-being of our students and staff remain our primary concern and we will continue to improve accessibility to clean water in our schools. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns at email@example.com. Also, please feel free to reach out to the DPH Bureau of Environmental Health at (617) 624-5757.
Chief of Finance and Operations
March 24th, 2017