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Science and the Environment

Republic Schools to Reopen Wednesday; Boil Water Advisory Remains in Effect

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Photo Credit: Maegan Tintari- Flickr

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Students in Republic stayed home from school Tuesday after water samples in the city were found to have indicated the presence of E. coli.

Josey McPhail is the director of communications for the Republic School District, and says classes will be in session Wednesday. 

“This morning, district and emergency management and city officials collaborated to come up with plans and protocols and resources so that they are all in place for tomorrow morning so that the health of our students and staff will remain unaffected,” McPhail said.

E. coli was detected in one of seven water samples taken on May 23. City officials say additional samples are being tested and the results should be returned by Wednesday. A boil water advisory issued Monday remains in effect “until additional water sample results can confirm or disprove that contamination is present.”

 According to the EPA, e. coli comes from human and animal waste and can be washed into lakes, rivers, streams, and ground water. When not adequately treated, Ee coli may end up in drinking water.

Some forms of e. coli are not actually harmful, according to Joe Pitts, executive director of the James River Basin Partnership. But some, he says, may lead to side effects.

“Some of the problems that can be caused directly by e. coli are things called dysentery, brief diarrhea, which can lead to some dehydration and things like that,” Pitts said.

While it is hard to predict whether e. coli is in water sources such as private wells, cities are not as commonly affected by the contamination.

“With public water supplies and other treatment systems like that it is a very rare event.”

The city says citizens will be informed of the latest water test results as soon as they become available.