UPDATE 12:45 - Borough Manager George Lloyd says the Blossburg Municipal Authority's current water source, a well near the Rod & Gun Club, is free from mercury. The Department of Environmental Protection is allowing Blossburg to lift the water advisory, but Lloyd asks that customers in Blossburg and Hamilton conserve water until the main source, the Bellman Filter Plant, is back online.
Story from earlier today: After an annual test indicated higher than allowed levels of mercury in the public water for Blossburg Borough and Hamilton Township, Blossburg Borough Manager George Lloyd says a second water sample was taken yesterday, Jan. 24, and results are expected this afternoon, Jan. 25.
Meanwhile, the municipal authority is advising all customers not to drink the water, nor wash dishes in it. The water is believed to be safe for bathing, so long as the bather does not ingest it and has no open wounds.
Blossburg Elementary School and North Penn High School are among the authority's customers and have made several adjustments since learning of the warning yesterday. The following information is from a statement by Superintendent Keith Yarger posted Jan. 25 on the Southern Tioga School District website:
"As you know, the Borough has placed a "Drinking Water Warning" in the Blossburg area due to higher than normal levels of mercury in the drinking water. We expect an update from the Blossburg Borough mid-morning today after further testing. Due to this, we have taken the following measures to ensure the safety of our staff and students.
• Dr. Lindner made an announcement yesterday at the end of the day encouraging
students to bring a bottle of water to school with them today to drink.
• The District has secured drinking water for student and cafeteria use today.
• Our cafeteria will not turn students away for extra juice during their time in school
• The menu in the cafe has been changed today in the Blossburg area to "Cooks Choice", which will be items not requiring water to prepare.
• The cafeteria will be using paper products to eat from that will not require washing.
• All cooking trays are lined with aluminum foil for cooking so that there would not be the need to wash them today, but we will wash them before using them again
• Water in the sinks of the restrooms and in the drinking fountains in the school has been shut off.
• Hand sanitizer is being furnished in the restrooms.
• Teachers have been instructed to remind students that they will need to use hand sanitizer in the restrooms.
• If the Blossburg Borough determines that the warning will be in effect for next week as well, the District will make arrangements to supply the schools with drinking water."
The mercury was detected in water from the Bellman Filter Plant, which depends on Bellman Run, Lloyd said. He added that this is the first positive test for mercury in at least 20 years. The borough is using a separate well as its water source until the issue is resolved.
Bloss Holiday Market reports that they have ordered a truckload of bottled water in various sizes and varieties and expect delivery at noon Jan. 25.