Saturday, September 27, 2003

Tests show bacteria in Loveland school water

EPA calm, but pupils not taking chances

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LOVELAND - City officials were trying to locate the source of bacteria at two Loveland schools Friday after their tap water tested positive for fecal coliform.

At Loveland Early Childhood Center, where the bacteria were discovered in a sample taken Tuesday, students were drinking bottled water and using waterless hand cleaner as a precaution.

St. Columban School, located about a half mile away on Oakland Road, would have been asked to do the same had they been in session, city officials said. A test there turned up positive last week.

The OEPA has not ordered Loveland to issue a citywide boil water advisory because tests suggest that the contamination is linked only to the schools and possibly to Loveland's water testing methods, agency environmental specialist Dan Cloyd said.

Assistant City Manager Tom Carroll said a testing flaw is the likely culprit because the contaminated samples were taken from janitors' sinks.

The Hamilton County Health Department also conducted plumbing inspections at the schools Friday - at the EPA's suggestion - to determine whether sewage backup was a factor. The inspections provided few answers, Carroll said.

City officials expect the results of further water tests today and will post them on the city's Web site,

Cloyd said the test results from the Early Childhood Center were above 200 colonies of fecal coliform, which comes from human or animal waste and can cause serious illness in children, the elderly and people with immune disorders.

According to environment standards, water containing more than 200 colonies is unsafe for swimming.

The EPA did not order Loveland to take extra precautions at the school, saying the problems were not considered acute. Even so, Loveland provided the bottled water to the Early Childhood Center because city officials did not want to take any chances, Carroll said.

Tests in at least one of the schools turned up positive for coliform in July, Carroll said. But, it was thought to be a fluke after subsequent samples were clear.

Further samples taken after the coliform surfaced at St. Columban last week and at the Early Childhood Center this week also came back clean, as did other water tests from various sites in the same half-mile stretch, Cloyd said.

District spokeswoman Meg Krsacok said cafeteria staff at the school also were using bottled water for food preparation.

The advisory didn't pose much of a problem, Principal Doug Savage said. Kindergartners thought it was a special treat to have their own water bottles in class.

"It's kind of a fun thing for them, and we've only had one spill so far," Savage said.

Loveland resident Meg Rekstis, who has a daughter in kindergarten, said she was concerned but not panicked.

"The precautionary measures are a good way of handling it until they know more facts," she said.


Overnight storm causes heavy damage in Warren Co.
Rape victim jailed; accused freed
Injured athlete voted homecoming king
Strikers ready for long haul
2 families get $3.1M for claims

Brand new on the menu: freshly painted Big Mac
Catholic schools scramble to reverse slide
'Survivor' sags in Cincinnati
Let's all talk about education
Catholic teachers mostly disagree with Ky. firing
School to open new building
Tests show bacteria in Loveland school water
27 home sick after ruling on overtime
School reunion unites West Side
Regional Report

Bronson: Letting the homeless be squatters is inhumane
Howard: Good Things Happening
Faith matters: Families fight death penalty
McNutt: Marker dedication gives Black Brigade limelight

Crunch time near for Apple Festival
Cities to debate mall aid
Fernald projects shut down
Warren college director picks awaited

Richard Langenbeck, 80, was retired lawyer
Librarian Althea Lazenby found adventure in India
Kentucky obituaries

ACLU sues over executions
Ohio's grid recorded at least 64 glitches
Cemetery offers free burial plot
State fair director resigns under fire
4 teens critical from bad weed
Bush leads all comers in Ohio
Pipeline project fined for violations
Pfeifer wins GOP nod - and nays
Workers hustle, boy gets heart
Ohio Moments

Fletcher health-care plan pushes Rx reform
Kentucky News Briefs
Governor debate at NKU
Do you know this donkey? He's lost and needs a home
Bishop backs diocese report
New school lunch program: Staff visits parents' homes
Lexington smoking ban halted
Kentucky To Go