Water contamination causes early dismissal at Montco schools

Schools in the Methacton School District in Montgomery County closed early Wednesday for problems related to a water-contamination warning for six area towns that has been extended through Friday, according to the district's website.

School officials will make a decision about Thursday's school openings and activities later Wednesday afternoon or evening, a message posted online said.

"Due to the water-related issues that continue to impact our schools, and which impede our ability to serve lunches, affected buildings will be dismissed early today," the district said Wednesday. "A follow-up message will be sent early this evening regarding the status of the Thursday, May 22 school day for affected schools. All after-school and evening activities [Wednesday] will go on as planned."

Earlier in the day, the water company that serves area towns issued a "boil water advisory" for some parts of the county. They included: East Norriton, West Norriton, Lower Providence, Whitpain, Worcester and Whitemarsh.

The company, Pennsylvania American Water, lost water pressure Tuesday, due to treatment issues at its Norristown Water Treatment Plant, according to a company press release.

"Recent heavy rains created high turbidity [cloudiness] in the raw water supply and affected the plant’s capacity," the company said. "A loss of positive water pressure is a signal of the existence of conditions that could allow contamination to enter the distribution system through backflow by back-pressure or back-siphonage. As a result, there is an increased chance that the water might contain disease-causing organisms."

In addition to the boil-water advisory, all 31,000 customers in its Norristown-area system are under a mandatory conservation notice.

Pennsylvania American Water is providing alternate water sources. Water tankers will be stationed at the following locations and customers are asked to supply their own containers:

  • Jeffersonville Fire Company at School Lane and Egypt Road
  • Lower Providence Fire Company at Ridge Pike and East Mount Kirk Avenue
  • East Norriton Fire Company on Swede Road
  • East Norriton Fire Station at Germantown Pike and Whitehall Road

Updates from the company on the status of the area water will be posted at the company's website.

Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or bmccrone@philly.com. Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.