WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools has installed reverse osmosis water coolers at its schools that currently are serviced by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.
The water coolers feature a multi-stage filtration system which reduces/eliminates PFAS from the water.
Leaders have been working to get them in the buildings for nearly a year, but the project wrapped up ahead of schedule. The goal was to get them installed ahead of the 2021 school year.
The water coolers are leased from Quench and because the bids came in lower than expected, school leaders were able to add more coolers to schools.
Assistant superintendent of operations Eddie Anderson says the health department stresses the water coming from school water fountains was safe to drink, but administrators say they’re happy to give families concerned about Gen-X levels another option.
“Certainly been a hot topic and you know, again with the potential for contaminated water and the concerns of our families, we just felt that it was the right thing to do to provide a safe alternative,” said Anderson.
Many schools have several units spread out through high-traffic areas of the building so kids can fill up their water bottles between classes.
The school system says the units will remain in place until CFPUA completes construction on its new filtration system at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant. The new system is scheduled to become operational in 2022.