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Leaky pipe means bottled water for Jackson Park students

Students and staff returning to Jackson Park Elementary School for the beginning of classes Tuesday will have to quench their thirst with bottled water.

That measure was necessitated by a problem with the water pressure in the pipe system of the main building.

There is no reason to believe the drinking water at the school has been contaminated, according to school district officials, but the alternate water supply “is the prudent, proactive measure,” said Melanie Reeder, district spokeswoman.

When crews were modifying a classroom early last month, they discovered two damaged water pipes. The problematic water pipe sections were replaced.

In a subsequent test, the water system in Jackson Park’s main building did not hold the pressure, suggesting there may be leaks in the piping.

Another test for water quality was done this week and the Kitsap County Health Department found no contamination.

“The water is still safe for drinking but we’re not going to drink it,” Reeder said.

The pipe systems in the school’s annex and portables held without any pressure drop during the test. The systems in all Jackson Park buildings are up and running so it will not affect regular bathroom operations.

But the district facilities department is partnering with representatives from Stirrett Johnson, Inc., a mechanical contractor, to explore the reasons for the pressure failure.

“We’re pursuing this aggressively,” said Richard Best, CKSD director of construction, facilities and maintenance. “And we hope to have the problem resolved in the shortest amount of time possible.”

If leaks in the pipe system are discovered, damaged sections will have to be repaired. There is a possibility the aging water system in Jackson Park’s main school building may have to be replaced.

“The bottom line is the water is safe for drinking but we don’t want to take a chance,” Reeder said.

She added that staff, students and families will be notified of the test results and any findings with take-home letters and electronic communications. Information also will be available at Jackson Park’s open house scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 15.

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