The Moultrie Observer
After months of using bottled water for drinking and cooking, Hamilton Elementary will begin this week using a $37,000 filtration system to remove arsenic from water for consumption.
The Colquitt County School System alerted parents on September 4 to elevated levels of arsenic in well water used at the school. Tests last summer showed a concentration of arsenic at 11 parts per billion (ppb).
In a letter sent to parents, the system said that a level of 10 ppb or more is cause for concern.
The high levels of arsenic appear to be naturally occurring, Schools Superintendent Paul DePaul said on Monday.
“From what I’m told, it does occur in the soil,” he said. “From what we were told, that part of the county, that part of the state has a vein of arsenic.
Hamilton is located in extreme southwest Colquitt County.
Officials learned of elevated levels of arsenic at 10 ppb in water in January 2012, at which time the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recommended monitoring through the end of the school year the well that serves the campus.
After two tests in June showed levels of 10 or above, the school cut off the well water from water fountains, with students drinking from dispensers containing safe water and cafeteria staff cooking with water transported to the campus.
In a Jan. 29 letter sent to students’ parents and guardians, the system said that filtered well water will be used at the school starting on Friday.