King George school closed Tuesday after testing shows water is unsafe to drink | News

Sealston Elementary School in King George County will be closed Tuesday because tests showed bacterial problems have made the water unsafe to drink without boiling.

Residents of the nearby Oakland Park subdivision have faced the same water restrictions since Friday night, when notices were attached to their front doors and porches. The notices stated the “bacteriological water quality at Oakland Park is unknown at this time,” and that tap water should not be used for drinking or cooking without being boiled or treated with water purification tablets.

The school, subdivision and King George Industrial Park are served by Oakland Park Waterworks, a county system operated by the King George Service Authority. About 330 customers are on the system, which had its most recent bacterial tests on March 8—“and all those came back clean,” said Director Chris Thomas.

The Virginia Department of Health required the King George utility to post the notices. The department provided the exact wordage and instructed the utility to hand-deliver them to customers, Thomas said, adding his office didn’t get the finalized notices until 5:21 p.m. Friday.

The school system didn’t know about the water problem until Monday morning. Officials decided to keep the school open then because School Superintendent Rob Benson said “turning buses around and going back to empty houses would not be a good idea.”

The school supplied bottled water for cooking and drinking, and workers provided sanitizer for hand-washing. But because so much water is needed to clean cafeteria tables and other school equipment, Benson said it wasn’t practical to operate a second day on bottled water.

Sealston Elementary School sent home letters Monday afternoon about Tuesday’s closing.

The no-drink notices went out after water samples taken last week showed a…

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