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Ironton High School reopens today

Ironton High School reopens today, four days after officials canceled classes over sewer gas concerns.

Tuesday, December 05, 2000

Ironton High School reopens today, four days after officials canceled classes over sewer gas concerns.

"I’m happy to report the problem has been identified and resolved, and it’s safe for all students and staff Tuesday morning," school board president Rayetta Waldo told those gathered for Monday’s public meeting on the issue.

For more than an hour, U.S. EPA and Ironton school officials outlined how they found and patched a storm sewer drain opening. The pipe break had been the source of a methane and sewer gas leak at the school that has been causing problems for years, district officials said.

More recently, dozens of students had been going home, complaining of ill effects. Unable to find the source of the problem, the school system received help from the EPA Friday.

Kurt Grunert, EPA emergency response team leader, said what the school suffered was far from the worst-case scenario.

"I feel very confident in knowing what we found ," he said. "I don’t think the concentration we saw here will have any long-term effects for the school."

Crews found no poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas. After testing every room, there is no more methane now than exists naturally, Grunert said.

Maintenance crews will monitor the patch weekly, superintendent Steve Kingery said, in response to parents’ concerns.

Ironton health commissioner Charles Kouns issued a statement, saying it was safe to resume classes. Anyone who thinks they suffered health problems should consult their local physician, Kouns wrote.