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Scott Bradford 10/12/2000 Adv. Biology

The article, “School playing it safe after bacteria found in water”, alerts readers to the horrific fact of, the presence of coliform bacteria. Examples of coliform bacteria are members in the genera Escherichia (E. Coli), Klebsiella (K. Pneumoniae), Enterobacter (E. Cloacai), and Citrobacter (C. Freundii). These types of bacteria are nonsporing, facultative rod-shaped bacteria that ferment lactose with gas formation within 48 hours at 35 degrees C. They are generally small and gram-negative facultative anaerobes. This type of bacteria is known for inhabiting the intestines of human beings and other vertebrates. In humans, it is responsible for digestion diseases.

On Thursday, October 4, during a routine check of East Rockford Middle School bacteria was found in the water. They claim that the bacterium was innocuous, and that many of its types are actually harmless. This is what they believe they have found. They claim that E. coli – the bacterium associated with fecal material and raw sewage – was not found.

As a result of the bacterium found, warning signs were placed next to all water emitting mechanisms – excluding drinking fountains, which were covered with plastic bags. As a result of the closed drinking fountains, the school placed large water coolers strategically around the school and dispensed cups. The school has been credited by dealing with the problem quickly and effectively.

Relate to class,

I feel that school has done an excellent job in dealing with the problem. As soon as they were notified of the problem, they acted. They closed down all drinking fountains and provided a new source of drinkable/uncontaminated water. They notified all parents, and planed to decontaminate the water over the weekend. I am however, concerned with the fact of not knowing how long the water was contaminated. How long have thousands of kids been drinking this bacterially infested water? Are the kids at fault for being sick after drinking the water (which the school advertises to be safe) and then having their grades slip due to their absence? All I could request of the school is that in the future they perform their water test on a more regular schedule as opposed to the bare minimum, which they were performing them at.

Their plans on decontaminating the water were simple. They plane to shut the water system down over the weekend, and flush the entire system with chlorinated water. This chlorinated water will sit in the pipes for 24 hours to kill the bacteria. Then the chlorinated water is flushed out again. New water is entered back into the system and checked for bacteria. School officials will continue to re-test the wells in hopes to “pin point” the contamination breech. It is not uncommon for a system of water to be flushed multiple times to clear out and clean the system. So, the process will continue until the well is entirely clean. In the next month, the system will be checked five times to confirm its cleanliness. I agree with their actions to rid the bacteria from the school. And I agree with their techniques of doing so. I have no objections to their techniques at all.

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