Update at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday:
Following concerns aired by neighbors of the high school who wondered if they should also use bottled water, Mayor Ronald McDaniel told Montville Patch that the state has said instances of contamination are usually "site specific" so neighbors shouldn’t be concerned.
"The state Department of Public Health has indicated that these types of situations are site specific so the neighbors should not be affected. However, as with any drinking water source, people should have it tested regularly to ensure a healthy supply."
Schools Superintendent Pamela Aubin told the Montville Board of Education that in addition to bottled water for drinking, the district must also provide bottled water for cooking. Aubin said that buying bottled water will impact the budget.
In a letter to high school staff and families dated Monday Sept. 24, Aubin said she was informed a "small amount of a mineral-like substance" was discovered in the water at the high school. Aubin said she immediately contacted the Uncas Health District and ordered testing of the water. A few weeks later, test results came back and the previously unknown substance was identified as manganese.
Aubin said on Oct. 12 the results showed an “elevated level” of the naturally occurring mineral, but she added that there are “no enforceable federal drinking water standards,” for manganese. But the Connecticut Department of Public Health does and has established a “action level to provide a margin of safety.”
Aubin explained then that it was her understanding the water was safe for cooking. That has since changed.
Aubin said she just learned that the district must now use bottled water for preparing and cooking food but not for dish washing.
Aubin said school director of facilities Matthew Bialowas is working with the Uncas Health District, the state health department and the district’s water management company LaFramboise Water Services to correct the contamination issue.
So what's manganese?
This easy to read report from the Connecticut Department of Public Health explains the concerns. Bottom line: At unsafe levels consumed over long periods of time it can adversely affect one's health.
And this from the EPA, a voluminious report on the effects of manganese.