A DRINKING tap at a Cranbourne secondary school left a sour taste in students’ mouths after it had been inadvertently connected to recycled water.
One of the drinking taps at St Peter’s College Cranbourne has been connected to recycling water for more than a year, and the school is not aware of any student illnesses as a result of this.
St Peter’s College principal Tim Hogan confirmed that “Class A recycled water was mistakenly connected to a drinking tap at St Peter’s College, East Campus, during the landscaping of the campus in 2013.”
“The school’s maintenance staff discovered the error and the drinking tap was immediately shut down,” he said.
An ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Victorian Building Authority concerning the external contractor(s) engaged to connect the drinking water fountain.
Mr Hogan said that the school would work with the Department of Health and Human Services to determine any health impacts.
“Advice we have received from the Department is that drinking the Class A recycled water may have led to a slight increased risk of gastro,” he said.
“I should point out that there has been thorough testing of all drinking water outlets at the campus and no other issues have been found.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (DH&HS) together with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning issued a statement following the revelations.
“The issue was detected by a maintenance worker at St Peters College Cranbourne East campus and South East Water was alerted on 1 April,” a spokesperson said.
The school community was notified, and preliminary assessments conducted by the DH&HS indicate that the risk of illness from drinking this Class A recycled water is low.
A further assessment of chemicals possibly present in the water found that the vast majority were at very low concentrations and unlikely to be harmful when consumed over the time that the recycled water was connected to the drinking fountain. All schools that receive recycled water from the Eastern Treatment Plant and the Pakenham Class A Recycled Water plant will be tested to ensure no direct connection has occurred.
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