By JACOB LOPEZ
Water quality concerns at five rural schools have prompted San Benito CISD officials to supply bottled water for consumption and food preparation purposes at the affected campuses.
According to a statement issued by San Benito CISD Community Relations Director Celia Longoria on Friday, campuses where bottled water will be provided include: Riverside Middle School, La Paloma Elementary, La Encantada Elementary, Rangerville Elementary and Angela Gerusa Leal Elementary.
Such action was taken after concerns regarding the quality of the water at the aforementioned campuses consisted of a discolored, yellow appearance in the water. It is noted, however, that district officials were not aware of an odor associated with the water.
Ramon Rosales, General Manager for the Military Highway Water Supply Corporation, which provides water to these campuses, said, “There’s some tint in the water. We did some extensive flushing in the general area of some of the schools.”
“We went out and we flushed the systems,” he added. “There’s still some tint in the water, and that’s why their concern was that they’d rather go to bottled water, from what I understand,” said Rosales.
According to Rosales, MHWSC uses well water and attributed the discoloration to minerals.
“We have groundwater, and that comes from wells,” Rosales said. “Wells have natural minerals in it, and sometimes those wells will create some tint in the water.”
What’s more, Rosales stressed that the district’s maintenance staff and MHWSC have “good communication” in an effort to reduce tinting, adding that the chlorine in the water meets state standards.
When asked if the water is suitable for drinking, Rosales said, “Absolutely.”
San Benito CISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón said that switch to bottled water is a precautionary measure.
Limón said, “The water was coming out yellow, so we attempted to have that corrected just to be safe. We didn’t want our students to drink that; we’ve been cooking with distilled water, with bottled water and also providing drinkable water for our students in those campuses.”
“It’s a precautionary measure until the system clears up,” the superintendent added.
Costs to supply bottled water for the schools are approximately $75 to $100 per day, according to Longoria’s statement.