UPDATE: George Washington High School non-detect MCHM - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE George Washington High School tests results say non-detect readings of MCHM

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J.E. Robins Elementary dismissed early for water concerns. J.E. Robins Elementary dismissed early for water concerns.
Watts Elementary also dismissed early this weekend. Watts Elementary also dismissed early this weekend.



Larry Messina Communications Director with the West Virginia  Dept. of Military Affairs and Public Safety says sample test results taken at George Washington High School in Kanawha County came back. Non- detect readings of MCHM were found at school. 



Kanawha County Schools says their Rapid Response Team found non-detect readings at 18 different schools they visited on Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7.

Non detect means there were no traces of MCHM found at the 1 part per million screening level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Testing was done at schools both last and earlier this week.

There were also no traces of MCHM found at the 10 parts per billion screen level requested by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Testing was done at this level both last week, earlier this week and on Thursday, Feb. 6 and Friday, Feb. 7.

The following schools were tested:

Alum Creek Elementary

Belle Elementary

Chandler Elementary

Elk Elementary Center

Grandview Elementary

Holz Elementary

J.E. Robins Elementary

John Adams Middle School

Malden Elementary

Midland Trail Elementary School

Overbrook Elementary

Riverside High School

Ruffner Elementary

Ruthlawn Elementary School

South Charleston Middle School

Stonewall Jackson Middle

Watts Elementary

Weberwood Elementary

George Washington High School also had its water tested according to a news release issued by Kanawha County Schools. "Three labs independently tested that water. Testing by two labs resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 parts per billion. The third lab detected MCHM at 0.018 parts per million. That 0.018 ppm reading more than meets the screening guideline for protecting public health provided by the CDC.  However, Gov. Tomblin has directed the more rigorous screening level of 10 parts per billion," said Ron Duerring, Kanawha County Superintendent of Schools.

That result prompted the team to draw an additional sample Friday morning from George Washington High School. Two labs have tested that sample and each resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 ppb. The school will be re-flushed over the weekend and further testing will occur. All results will be made public once they are confirmed.

Members of the Rapid Response Team believe that the 0.018 ppm reading may reflect a variance that can occur given variables in analytical chemistry and the incredibly small amounts involved. Team members also note that each lab is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and continue to follow quality control procedures to ensure accurate results according to Duerring.

George Washington High School also had its water tested last week and it was reported at the non-detect level.



Test results from two schools in West Virginia both show traces of MCHM.

The kitchen of Lincoln County High School tested at 0.010 ppm for samples taken on Feb. 1.  A sink at George Washington High School tested at 0.018 ppm. Samples were taken from George Washington High School on Feb. 6.



Overbrook Elementary School is closing at noon today for water concerns.

(Many do not trust water despite reassurance from experts)

A person reported a strange smell at Overbrook and a custodian sent to check out the smell said most of the rooms had a faint smell.  A faint smell was also detected at hot water faucets and the boiler room, according to the principal.

The school was using water for the dish washer, mop water and toilets.  Faucets at the school have been covered.



Watts Elementary became the fourth Kanawha County school to close for water issues.  The school will dismiss at 11:15 a.m.

The principal of Watts said that a teacher in a portable unit was running hot water when she detected the "slightest smell" of licorice. 

The school is dismissing as a precaution.  The school said they are still avoiding using the water to cook or wash.

The school was already tested and cleared prior to this incident, according to the school principal.



J.E. Robins Elementary on Charleston's west side closed today due to water concerns. 

Teachers and students at the school are reporting a licorice smell.  It started when cooks ran a dishwater in the kitchen and smelled a licorice stench, consistent with Crude MCHM.  According to the school's principal, the dismissal is just a precaution.

Parents are very frustrated over the ordeal.

"We're basically lab rats," said Jamie Mccallister.  She was the first parent to pick up her children Thursday morning.

Other parents are concerned over the amount of days Kanawha County children have already missed.

"We've had our kids out of school for so long that they aren't getting the education they need," said parent Tarah Jones.

This is the third school in two days to close in Kanawha County for water issues.

County officials and the National Guard will test for Crude MCHM today, they said.

(Two Kanawha County schools to remain closed due to water concerns)