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School in Racine County investigating contaminated water

CREATED Jan 21, 2013

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FRANKSVILLE - Raymond School families got a letter Monday urging parents to send bottled water with their kids to school.

Students filled up paper cups between classes.

Staff scrambled over the weekend to set up coolers and buy dozens of big bottles after learning their water is contaminated with a metal called molybdenum.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says too much molybdenum may lead to hallucinations, stomach sickness, kidney disorders and joint pain.

"I had never heard of it before I received that call," said school administrator Joe Dawidziak.

The drinking fountains are off in this small Racine County district. All students, 4K through 8th grade, are in one building on 76th Street.

State health officials say it is still safe to use the well water for cleaning and washing.

"It's okay to use the water to wash hands, those kinds of things," Dawidziak said.

The TODAY'S TMJ4 I-Team has been tracking high molybdenum levels in drinking water at homes near the Oak Creek We Energies coal power plant.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tested at least two schools as part of their search for the source. That is how they discovered this contamination.

As school got out, parents praised the district's fast action.

"They've got the bubblers shut off," parent Amy Ambrose said. "They asked us to send water with our kids. Then, they have water here for them, too."

A long-term solution is being discussed.

In the coming days, the DNR plans to release the results of the lengthy study into the source of the molybdenum contamination in northern Racine and southern Milwaukee counties.