South Florida Sun Sentinel | by Cindy Krischer Goodman | May 31, 2021
With a water advisory in effect, the School District of Palm Beach County has taken precautions at some of its public schools to close off all drinking water fountains on campus and bring in bottled water.
On Friday, county officials announced elevated levels of algae toxins have been found in the tap water used by 120,000 residents of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach.
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James said Sunday that “it’s going to take some time” to to clear the toxins from the tap water. Residents have been told to drink bottled water and avoid boiling water because it increasingly releases these toxins into the air.
On Monday, the school district identified 20 Palm Beach County schools that are affected by the drinking water advisory and “proactively mobilized efforts” to bring in bottled water. In addition, School Food Services is ensuring that all meals on campuses are safe, and continue as long as advised by county officials.
“We hope to be able to lift the advisory for vulnerable populations by the end of the week,” James said at the news conference Sunday.
The county has been giving out water bottles to residents affected and first warned against drinking their tap water late Friday after high levels of a toxin caused by blue-green algae, known as cylindrospermopsin, were found in the water supply. On Tuesday and Wednesday, residents can pick up free bottled water at Gaines Park, at 1501 N. Australian Ave. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Health officials said those who should use caution include children under 6, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with pre-existing liver conditions, the elderly and those receiving dialysis treatment.
The following schools are under the drinking water advisory:
‐Alexander W Dreyfoos Jr SOA
-Bak Middle School Of The Arts
-Bear Lakes Middle
Conniston Community Middle
-Egret Lake Elementary
-Forest Hill Community High
-Grassy Waters Elementary
-Palm Beach Lakes Community High
-Palm Beach Public School
-Pleasant City Elementary
-Roosevelt Community Middle
-South Olive Elementary
-U B Kinsey/Palmview Elementary
Image: Drinking water fountains have been shut off and bottled water will be brought into some schools in Palm Beach County where a drinking water advisory is in effect. (Jeffrey F. Bill)