After the Town of Dewitt Boil Water Order, Manlius Pebble Hill School took precautions to ensure all students had safe drinking water.
On Friday, October 4th, the Onondaga County Health Department informed the public that test results found coliform bacteria in their drinking water. Tests were done over the weekend and, during those days, citizens were not allowed to use any of their water, unless it was boiled. After the three days of testing, the Onondaga Health Department informed the public, on Sunday the 6th, that the water was safe:
“The Onondaga County Health Department has lifted the boil water order for residents served by the Town of Dewitt Water Department. […] The Town of DeWitt Water Department spent the weekend flushing the system and increasing the chlorine levels in the water. Two consecutive follow up tests have confirmed no presence of coliform” (https://healthnews.ongov.net/boil-water-order-lifted-for-town-of-dewitt/).
While the boil water advisory was in place for only three days, Manlius Pebble Hill School administration had to take many actions to make the school safe.
School administration monitored the situation over the three days and made sure all students would be able to have water. Adam Sayre, Director of Finance and Operations, stated, “Sunday, we had a crisis response protocol in place, so the head of school, myself, and the Director of Facilities, and other folks were prepping to open school on Monday with bottled water for all the students. The main concern was that we couldn’t open without drinking water.”
Drinking water was the major concern, and to help with this problem, the maintenance team had to take action. Michael Longden, Facilities Manager, stated, “We’ve gone through and turned off all the water, the drinking water through the fountains and the chillers throughout the school. We had to purchase water bottles and ice to get us by, not knowing if the ban would be lifted or not. We are currently changing all the filters of every drinking machine on campus, just to be sure.” The maintenance team has successfully fixed most of the water fountains in the school and are making sure the students of Manlius Pebble Hill are safe.
There was a looming difficulty if the water would not be safe on Monday- the food. The lunch staff needed to find a way to have lunch for 314 students and staff without using the bacteria filled water. If the lunch staff were going to use any water for cooking, cleaning, or drinking, they would need to boil it.
After the order was lifted, the team needed to “prime” everything. Christine Lowe, Chef Manager for Brock and Company Inc., stated, “We had to run the water, every single faucet in the entire building, for five minutes on hot and five minutes on cold (so if anything was in the lines from the water department, it would be pushed through).”
Even with the act lifted and the priming completed, Lowe decided that they wanted to be safe, “We tried to err on the side of caution. On my way to school, I bought ice (pre-made ice from elsewhere), so [students] could have your water and I also bought bottled water (the big gallon jugs) so [students] could have that water. I bought a few extra gallons, so we would have some just in case something happened.”
The Dewitt Boil Water Order, October 4th to 6th, forced Manlius Pebble Hill to take many actions to ensure their students’ health.