Water shut off at Carson High School | NevadaAppeal.com

Water shut off at Carson High School

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer
Caution tape blocked the entrances to bathroom as signs were poisted throughout the main building of Carson High School after water leading to the building was found to be contaminated. The problem was later solved and bathrooms should be open for use today. Photo by Brian Corley

Students can expect portable toilets and bottled water today when they return to Carson High School for their second day without water.

Traces of antifreeze and other chemicals were discovered in the drinking supply Tuesday, prompting officials to shut off water in the main building.

“The amount of those chemicals was pretty minute,” said Mike Mitchell, director of operations. “However, we don’t want to detect any glycol in water. It’s poisonous.”

The contamination occurred when a valve failed, leaking chemically treated water from the cooling system into the domestic water supply.

“It’s very unusual. It almost never happens,” Mitchell said. “We’ve taken the necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Vice principal Fred Perdomo alerted Mitchell of foul-smelling and discolored water around 8 a.m. Tuesday but officials are unsure exactly when the chemicals seeped into the drinking supply.

Freshman Joe Monzo, 15, said he and classmates noticed a nasty taste Monday afternoon during their weight training class.

“It was really bad — it didn’t taste right,” he said. “It wasn’t as clear as it usually is. Everybody was complaining.”

Consuming large quantities of ethylene glycol — antifreeze — can damage the central nervous system, heart and kidneys, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Traces of other water-treatment chemicals were also found.

However, Mitchell said no injury has been reported.

“We haven’t had any reports of vomiting or any other telltale signs,” he said.

High school officials made a schoolwide announcement about 8 a.m. telling students not to drink or use the water in the bathrooms.

“At 10:30, we decided to shut it off completely to make sure nobody could,” Mitchell said.

Students were directed to use bathrooms in the technology center and in the ROTC facility, both on the high school campus.

Portable toilets will be brought in today for additional convenience and 7-Up Bottling Supply will again provide drinking water.

“It’s safe,” Principal Glen Adair told parents at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “Send your kids to school. It’s not a free day. We’re getting ready for finals — we’ve got lot’s of stuff going on.”

Mitchell said he hopes to hear from the lab today on the condition of the water and be able to turn it back on by Thursday.

The city’s water supply was not affected.