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FCASD Water Testing Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We have received the results from the follow-up water testing related to the elevated levels of legionella that were found in the water at four of our schools. Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments and can grow when buildings are dormant for an extended period of time. As you know, on August 13, we tested the water at all six of our schools. On August 21, we received word that the water at Fairview, Kerr, and O’Hara elementaries, as well as the water at Fox Chapel Area High School, showed elevated levels of legionella. On August 22 and 23, we raised the water temperature to 160 degrees; drained the water system through all outlets, faucets, and spigots; and then refilled and flushed the system again, and retested the water on August 24.

The results of the retests continued to show no legionella in the water at Dorseyville Middle School and Hartwood Elementary, and also showed no legionella at Fairview Elementary. However, although the numbers have vastly improved at the high school and O’Hara and Kerr elementaries and many of the tested sites showed no legionella, a few sites still showed some elevated levels. As a result, the Allegheny County Health Department recommended that those water systems undergo another round of heating the water and flushing the system, which we will perform.

We were able to schedule retesting for the water on September 10, and the district will receive the results in 3-10 days.

We will continue to work closely with and follow the guidance of the Allegheny County Health Department and the testing experts. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. The Allegheny County Health Department continues to state that it is safe for students and staff to be in the buildings. It may also recommend another round of heating the water and flushing the system, depending upon the results from the September 10 testing.

Though it is unlikely that our cold drinking water is affected, our students and employees have not been drinking the water in the schools where the levels were elevated. We ask that students at the high school and at Kerr and O’Hara elementaries continue to bring water from home, and each building will also have an ample supply of bottled water. There are no water restrictions at Dorseyville Middle School and Fairview and Hartwood elementary schools.

We thank you for your patience as we continue to work with local experts to resolve this issue.

Sincerely,

Mary Catherine Reljac, Ed.D.
Superintendent