MATTAPOISETT — Superintendent Michael S. Nelson reports that the Towns of Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester are under a drinking water warning, which also affects five of the six district schools.
The drinking water warning is effective immediately for everyone in the Tri-Town who utilizes public water and it is advised that water is boiled before it is used. Old Rochester Regional High School, Old Rochester Regional Junior High School, Center School, Old Hammondtown School and Sippican School are affected by the warning. The drinking water warning remains in place until further notice.
The Rochester Memorial School is the only district school not affected by the drinking water warning because it uses well water rather than public water.
“Water used at the Rochester Memorial School is not public water, and instead is supplied through a well,” Facilities Director Gene Jones said. “This well water is tested independently and regularly, and is not affected by the drinking water warning issued today. We would like to assure Rochester Memorial School families that the water being used in the building is safe.”
The five affected schools will follow all directives of town, state and public health officials relating to the warning in regards to facilities work and food operations. Bottled water and hand sanitizer is being made available for students at the affected schools. All water that will be used for cooking or drinking will be boiled before use. Additionally, drinking fountains and water refill stations will also be closed at the affected schools until the drinking water warning is lifted.
“Our food services staff will follow the guidance provided by town officials including discarding food or beverage items in accordance with their directives, as well as boiling public water used in our day-to-day food services operations,” Director of Food Services Jill Henesey said.
The drinking water warning was issued as a result of water samples testing positive for E. coli. The towns are collecting repeat samples and working with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP offers additional information and guidance regarding drinking water and public health orders here.
“We will follow all directives of the officials in each town, and will ensure students and staff have the necessary resources to continue their school days with as little disruption and inconvenience as possible while this drinking water warning remains in place,” Superintendent Nelson said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the school community updated regarding any additional impact to the schools.”