No cause found for Wamsley’s pesky odor |

No cause found for Wamsley’s pesky odor

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE – An intermittent foul odor that caused Garfield School District Re-2 administration to close Wamsley Elementary School two days early for winter break has proven to be elusive.”We did a lot of things during the break with the sewer lines but we didn’t find anything on the school property,” said Craig Jay, Garfield School District Re-2 director of facilities.Jay said Re-2 maintenance crews checked all the sewer lines for possible blockages and even ran a camera down the lines checking for a possible cause, but found nothing.”We are working with the city to resolve the issue,” Jay said.However, Rifle public works director Bill Sappington said that the city has investigated the situation, too, and found no direct cause. Sappington said he had a conversation with a contractor that he presumed worked on the construction of the school, and was told that they have had similar problems at other similar structures.”It seems to be the venting odor of the sewer system is getting sucked in through the air handling system,” Sappington said.But Jay said the air handling system is working properly and is not a problem at the facility.”The vents allow air to be sucked in because of the vacuum that is created when water goes down the drain or a toilet is flushed,” Jay said.Jay said the cause would still have to be a blockage or something creating “back pressure” in the sewer lines and not allowing the gas produced by the wastewater to flow back to the wastewater treatment plant. In that case the smell could be picked up by the air handling system and distributed through the school. But the air handling system isn’t the problem, he said.Classes resumed at Wamsley on Tuesday, after the holiday break. The smell has yet to rear its foul presence since then. Before the holiday break, Re-2 director of districtwide services Theresa Hamilton said the odor came and went, and some days was stronger than others. Hamilton said the city conducted air-quality tests prior to the holiday and found nothing harmful.”Everything is safe,” Hamilton said. “It’s never been an issue of student safety, it’s just a little unpleasant.”Jay confirmed that no imminent danger was present.”There is no hazard to the children, it’s just a very bad smell,” Jay said. “We have cleaned the lines and have found no definitive cause, but we haven’t had the problem come back.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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