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Low water pressure plagues two schools

Wesley Chapel High and Weightman Middle schools truck in water, and students use portable toilets after a dip in pressure.

By JAMES THORNER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 3, 2002

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Rust-colored water that appeared last week in drinking fountains forced Wesley Chapel High School and Weightman Middle School to truck in water from the school district headquarters.

Accompanying low water pressure limited bathroom breaks for hundreds of students. Some resorted to using portable toilets.

"We had a few glitches," Weightman assistant principal Beth Brown said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, most of the troubles appeared to have dissipated, although low-water pressure remains a chronic problem at the schools, located in the country on Wells Road in Wesley Chapel.

The problem is this: The schools sit at the end of a water line that starts at a treatment plant on County Line Road west of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

By the time water reaches the schools, its flow has partly petered out, a problem the school district has attacked by installing pumps at the schools.

"They're kind of out there on the fringes of the system," Pasco utilities director Bruce Kennedy said.

Last week, students and teachers noticed "things floating in the water," Brown said. The solution was to bring in 5-gallon containers of water, mostly for the consumption of kids in gym class.

"It didn't disrupt our school day. Not a bit," Brown said.

High school principal Andy Frelick said his cafeteria used bottled water for cooking and dishwashing "as a precaution," although tests showed the tap water was not contaminated.

County and school officials said they didn't know for sure, but suspect a developer had tapped the line somewhere between the water plant and the schools. That might have caused rust or sediment to slip into the system.

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