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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Due to recent findings indicating the presence of cancer causing agents in the drinking water at two elementary schools, students and parents of Joseph Sibilly Elementary School are directed to bring drinking water to school for now.
It was uncovered by St. Thomas Source Friday that the Department of Education had been issued Notices of Violation in connection with the drinking water at Sibilly School and James Monroe Elementary School due to the volatile organic chemicals found in the water.
The mandate by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources called for the cisterns at Sibilly and Monroe Schools to be drained, cleaned and measures put in place to assure the potability of water at the schools.
Monroe has emptied its cistern, according to Dean Plaskett, commissioner of DPNR, but has not been refilled or tested.
Due to the heavy rains Monday Sibilly's cistern could not be emptied, according to a release from Education.
Students will get lunch from a satellite location because the water at the school cannot be used for cooking either.
June Archibald, spokesperson for the Education Department said Monday that the department will provide some water at the school, but she couldn't say how much.
In an Aug. 10 letter to Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds, the department was directed by DPNR to cut back trees and brush affecting the catchment areas at the schools, clean and screen the gutters, pressure-wash the roofs and empty and clean the cisterns before Aug. 23. Carol Aubin, environmental specialist with the Planning and Natural Resource Department's environmental protection division, explained to St. Thomas Source Friday that unlike bacteria, which can be killed or controlled with chlorine, volatile organic chemicals are actually created by a reaction between certain types of plants and algae when mixed with chlorine.

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