Parents demand answers after school water found with unsafe levels of bacteria

FOX 32 NEWS - School officials in south suburban Crete are hoping they'll be able to turn the water back on Wednesday.

Students at Balmoral Elementary School have been without water for a week after tests found unsafe levels of bacteria.

"I think its public knowledge. If the county is testing public schools, it should be public knowledge,” said parents Jessica Tracey.

There’s frustration from some parents of children at Balmoral Elementary School in Crete, which has been without safe tap water for nearly a week.

Tests by the Will County Health Department found elevated levels of coliform bacteria in the school's well water.

While not generally dangerous itself, coliform is often an indicator of water contamination, potentially by other bacteria. But parents say they're getting little information from the Crete-Monee school district.

"Just the fact that they can't tell us an exact answer. The clarity of it is very lacking, and I would just appreciate an answer,” Tracey said.

Last Friday, students were sent home with a letter, also posted on the district's website, saying only that the school's water should not be consumed until the well is cleaned and checked for deficiencies.

The letter also says all drinking fountains at the school have been shut off and covered, students should use only bottled water, and hand sanitizer has been delivered to all classrooms and bathrooms.

But some parents say they never received the letters, and can't get answers to pressing questions.

"How long have the kids been consuming before they decided to test it? What made them test it?" parent Carly Parker said.

“Cause even the letters home haven't explained in black and white what it was that was found,” Tracey added.

District 201 Superintendent Nathaniel Cunningham told FOX 32 by phone that the well was chlorinated late last week and the school's water supply flushed.

Water tested Monday was clean and they're awaiting the results of a second water test taken Tuesday before giving the okay to drink.

Cunningham said he understands the parent's frustration.

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