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Updated: Health Department Says Rust to Blame for Brown Water at WMS

Superintendent denies water's color caused by rust, invites public to tonight's meeting for explanation.

Updated: Health Department Says Rust to Blame for Brown Water at WMS
Editor's note: Originally posted Jan. 08, 2014 at 3:24 p.m. Updated at 4:55 p.m.

Rusty hot water from Woonsocket Middle School's plumbing is to blame for the brown water coming from the building's taps, according to an official at the RI Department of Health, but Superintendent Giovana Donyan disagrees.

At Monday night's meeting,  Alethea Forcier brought two bottles of brown water  — samples from the tap at Woonsocket Middle school, she said. She claimed the principals and superintendent had been aware of the problem for about a month.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt said after the meeting that she would speak with Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan about the problem. Calls to Baldelli-Hunt's office Tuesday and Wednesday about the water were not immediately returned.

A call to Woonsocket Middle School's Principal Steve Boss was also not immediately returned. 

Jim Palmer, spokesman for the RI Department of Health, said the department's water and food inspectors have been out to the school to look at the problem, and have attributed it to hot rusty water. 

The problem does not affect cold water running from the taps, Palmer said, so the water is safe for cooking and drinking.

Donoyan, contacted at about 4:30 p.m., denied the problem had anything to do with rust, but would not elaborate on the actual cause of the problem. She said the School Board's Chairman would address the problem and explain it  at this evening's meeting at 7 p.m.,  at the Hamlet Middle School Building, 60 Florence Dr.

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