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Pa. school to reopen with water tank

September 29, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A temporary water system will allow the 122 students at Duffield Elementary School to return to their regular classrooms today, three days after the school's well ran dry.

"We have the official word and sent it home with the students," Head Teacher Joann Young said Wednesday. She said a 1,500-gallon sanitized water tank has been connected to the school's filtering system and plumbing.

The kindergarten through fifth-grade students had been bused to five other elementary schools in the Chambersburg Area School District while the temporary fix was put in place. Young said water will be brought in from the Guilford Water Authority by a certified water hauler.

Young said the existing 90-foot-deep well will not be used again. A permanent solution will involve either drilling a new well or connecting to the Guilford Water Authority system.

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The school board is scheduled to hold a special meeting Friday at 10 a.m. to determine how to permanently supply the school with water and get the required approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

While the water from the temporary system will be used for sinks and flushing toilets, Young said bottled water will continue to be used for drinking. The school had been using bottled drinking water before the well ran dry because of water quality problems.

Superintendent Dr. Edwin Sponseller said Monday the water at the school had been tested regularly.

Three of the district's 19 elementary schools are on wells and two of those have gone dry since the beginning of the school year. The 79 students at Letterkenny Elementary School have been attending Lurgan Elementary since the first week of the school year.

Sponseller said Monday a new well had been drilled for Letterkenny Elementary, but students may not return for another month because of state testing and permitting requirements.

The wells at the two schools ran dry despite plentiful rainfall in September. Chambersburg weather observer Jerry Ashway said 5.76 inches of rain had fallen in the borough during the month. Average rainfall in Franklin County for September is 3.6 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Despite the summer drought, when rainfall was about half of normal from May through August, Ashway said precipitation for the year so far is 31.2 inches, compared to the 30.7-inch average for the first nine months of the year.

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