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Pa. school closes as well runs dry

September 27, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Students from Duffield Elementary School could be bused to five different elementary schools today after the well ran dry Monday at the Guilford Township school.

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Duffield Elementary is the second elementary school in the district to have its well run dry since the beginning of the school year. During the first week of school, Letterkenny Elementary School closed and has yet to reopen, according to Chambersburg Area School District Superintendent Dr. Edwin Sponseller.

Students were sent home Monday with a letter from Duffield Head Teacher Joann Young telling parents that the students will be picked up at the regular time, but may be bused to other schools.

"We have developed temporary alternative plans beginning Tuesday morning if necessary," the letter said.

Kindergarten and first-grade students would go to New Franklin Elementary; second-graders to Guilford Hills Elementary; third-graders to Fayetteville Elementary; fourth-graders to Falling Spring Elementary and fifth-graders to New Franklin Elementary.

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"Monday morning the well went dry ... At this time we don't know the extent of the problem," Young said in the letter.

"The last I heard, the well was not recovering enough to handle the problem," Sponseller said Monday evening. He said Building and Grounds Department workers and a well company were at the school late into the afternoon trying to remedy the situation.

The well is about 90 feet deep, but the pump is only about 70 feet deep, according to Sponseller. He did not know whether the solution would be to reposition the pump, redrill the well, or drill a new well. "We'll do all we can to get water back at the school," he said.

Letterkenny Elementary closed shortly after classes began Aug. 30 because of a dry well. The 79 students there were transferred to Lurgan Elementary.

A new well 300 feet deep has been drilled, but Sponseller said it may be another four to six weeks before students can return to Letterkenny because of water testing and permitting requirements from the state.

He did not know whether the Duffield school would have to go through the same lengthy process.

Young's letter referred to other problems with the well at the school. Sponseller said there have been water quality problems there "from time to time" which required bottled water to be brought in for cooking and drinking.

Sponseller said three of the district's 19 elementary schools are on wells.

The third is Portico Elementary, which is scheduled to be closed at the end of this year and students transferred to recently expanded Hamilton Heights Elementary School, he said.

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