Updated: Wednesday, 22 Sep 2010, 5:50 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 22 Sep 2010, 5:50 PM EDT
CAMDEN, Ohio (WDTN) - Water woes in Camden are trickling into the schools.
Officials at Camden primary are trucking in thousands of bottles of water everyday, to quench the thirst of students and teachers.
The Ohio EPA declared a water emergency in Camden last month, after salt leeched into the water supply.
Camden Mayor Gunter Sylvanis told 2 news, he hoped to find new wells to provide water to residents. EPA officials recommend the village tap into Southwest Regional's water system, but that would cost about a million dollars.
"The water tastes horrible. The water meets the EPA standards for safe water, but we have some concerns about what that water is doing to the plumbing. As you get more salt, it gets more corrosive so that can leach heavy metals out into the plumbing lines," said Michael Proffit, a manager with the groundwater group for the Ohio EPA.
Local businesses in Camden have stepped up to help the schools cope.
Superintendat Dale Robertson with the Preble Shawnee local schools district said IGA and Walmart had donated thousands of bottles of water, for students and teachers at Camden Primary School.
The school housed about 470 teachers and students from Pre-K through 3rd grade, and was the only one in the district affected by the salt water woes.
Principal Heather Campbell said they had turned the drinking fountains off, as a precaution.
Dozens of cases of bottled water lined the walls of the cafeteria, and dozens more were sitting on tables in classrooms throughout the building.
Robertson said the water was refrigerated the night before, then with the help of maintenance staff and teachers, it was brought into the hallways early in the morning.
"You would see small tables set up between the classrooms that would have cases of bottled water on it," said Robertson.
EPA officials had labeled the tap water as unpalatable for human consumption.
To give us an idea of the salt content, school officials said ocean water had 3% of salt in it. Camden water contained 1% of salt.
Some residents said they could feel the effects of the salt in their tap water.
"Its just very aggravating, and very uncomfortable for people. I've noticed in taking a bath and washing my hair, its very itchy when I get done. I'm having to rinse it off with bottled water," said Camden resident Phyllis Hatton.
School officials said all of the cafeteria food was being prepared at the high school, then being brought into the primary school in vans.
"The meat is cooked and transported from the main high school because they don't have the water problem over there," said food server Vicki Sienett.
The students were eating on styrofoam trays, to cut down on dishwashing, while larger dishes and trays were simply getting a rinse down, then being transported to the high school to be re-washed.
"We cannot wash them because of the salt residue that would be left on them," said Campbell.
EPA officials ordered the village to connect to a new water system by October 30th.
If not the Attorney General's office would be notified, and the village could lose its licence to operate a drinking water system.