story updated with retesting results

UPDATED: Cushing Community School hard water issue resolved

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 9:00am

CUSHING — The Cushing Community School’s water has passed a recent retesting, according to results the district shared with Wednesday morning. 

The most recent samples were taken between 7 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 with the samples being analyzed Monday, Sept. 9. 

Samples were taken from a kindergarten kitchen sink, a gymnasium water fountain, a hallway water fountain, a first grade water fountain and a second grade water fountain. 

Each of the five samples passed their tests.  


Original Story (9/10/19, 7 p.m.)  

CUSHING — Over the summer, a sample of water taken from the potable water system at Cushing Community School tested above acceptable water quality limits for lead, according to an Aug. 21 letter sent to parents from Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald and Dawn Jones, the school’s principal. The issue, however, seems to have been resolved before the start of the school year Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

Districts in the state are required to regularly test water quality in all schools using well water, the letter noted. This test was performed to fulfill that state mandate. 

“When discussing the circumstances and results of the test with the Facilities Director and our plumbing contractor, it is believed that this was due to a failure of the corrosion control system and water softener in the building,” the letter stated. 

A water softener removes minerals, most commonly calcium and magnesium ions, that cause water to be hard, and replaces them with sodium ions, according to the Scientific American. A water softener — which can operate automatic, semi-automatic or manual — collects hardness minerals within its conditioning tank and periodically flushes them away.

RSU 13 said the system has been repaired and flushed with the district, as of Aug. 21, awaiting results from a retesting. The results of the retest remain unclear as multiple inquiries on the retest results and how the system failed have yet to be answered.  

The letter noted bottled drinking water would be provided should the school open prior to a satisfactory test of the water. There has been no indication, however, on the district’s website or social media pages that consumption of bottled drinking water is being required by the district, indicating the issue was corrected. 

McDonald stressed in the letter there were no previous instances of the school’s water failing to meet quality standards for lead and noted the “unacceptable result” was due to equipment failure over the summer, meaning no students were exposed to harmful water during the 2018-2019 school year. The building was not used during summer break. 

Reach George Harvey at: