After having large, public buildings closed for such a long period of time, companies and facility managers have had to consider water quality and disinfection in their reopening plans. Local school districts have had to address water quality issues in select buildings and take steps to mitigate.
Time and again, Milton-Union Schools has benefited from its long-standing partnership with the Village of West Milton. Most recently, the district has certainly benefited from the forethought of Mr. Tim Swartzstrauber, Water Supervisor and Chief Inspector for the Village of West Milton. Understanding the circumstances related to building closure, Tim contacted the district to collect chlorine samples and begin the process of creating a water management plan. Additional testing beyond chlorine was conducted, and although results were promising, Tim and school district staff members felt the time was right to complete a more comprehensive series of tests to ensure water quality and safety.
To assist, Tim engaged his connections through Miami County Public Health and the Ohio EPA for support and guidance in next steps. In consultation with the Southwest District Office of the Ohio EPA, Tim connected with faculty members and graduate students from Purdue University. On Saturday, August 15, 2020, Dr. Andrew Whelton and his team of environmental and ecological engineers visited Milton-Union Schools to conduct an extensive water analysis, taking approximately 1500 samples. Although unusual and typically not required or done, Dr. Whelton and his team tested both hot and cold water systems. The district has now been made aware of two water outlets testing over the limit for Legionella. Currently, these outlets are not functional or available for use. During school closure, these outlets were located in low traffic areas, so results likely stem from their lack of use. The district is scheduling with Solid Blend Technologies for treatment and fully expects the disinfecting process to be complete within the next seven days, well before the first student day on September 8, 2020.
Adding another proactive step, Tim, Dr. Whelton, and his team plan to collaborate in the creation of a water management plan specific for Milton-Union Schools. Moving forward, the district’s water management and safety plan will outline steps and protocols for preparing the facility for low occupancy periods (i.e., water system maintenance for extended breaks and holidays).
Although not ideal news, Milton-Union Schools is thankful for the participation and commitment of Tim, Dr. Whelton, and his team in seeing this project through to its conclusion and leaving us with a proactive plan to address any further issues. We appreciate the foresight of Mr. Tim Swartzstrauber and the Village of West Milton in looking after our staff members, students, and guests!