Trace Evidence of Antifreeze Found in Drinking Water at Grade School in Hartford

HARTFORD — Students at Addison Elementary School are getting a lesson about antifreeze, after the chemical was discovered in the school’s drinking water. Officials say the problem has been addressed, and there is no health concern. But some parents are still worried.

The Slinger School District has informed parents of students of the problem with the drinking water.

According to a letter sent to the parents on Saturday, May 14th, Principal John Larkin and Superintendent Daren Sievers told parents the following:

“This problem requires immediate action to prevent exposure, but we do not believe that any students or staff have been harmed at this time. We will, however, be taking several precautionary measures to further protect students and staff at Addison until we have the answers we need. School will resume on Monday, May 16th as scheduled.”

The principal’s letter indicates school officials were informed that a recent water sample at Addison Elementary “showed trace evidence of both propylene and ethylene glycol (antifreeze)” in the drinking water. The source of that antifreeze “is from a broken pipe” in the HVAC system.

The HVAC system hasn’t been working since February. In April, it was determined that was due to the broken underground pipe.

“The ground had shifted, settled and cracked some of the pipes,” Sievers said. “We ordered up a water test to see if any of the air conditioning chemicals that are part of the chilling system were at risk of entering the water system.”

There was. Officials say levels detected are above the standards for drinking water, but said the levels are very low.


The principal’s letter indicates until the situation is resolved, all drinking fountains at the school have been turned off. Students are encouraged to bring water to school if possible from now through the end of the school year.

“We turned off all the bubblers, purchased cases and cases of bottled water for the students to have indefinitely,” Sievers said.

“The school district will be providing bottled water for cooking and drinking from now until the end of the school year, as needed,” the letter states.

That’s what Jackie Beers said her three children will be doing.

“I know that (school district officials) are on top of it and taking good care of it,” Beers said.

Officials say hand washing is safe, as long as the hand washing is done at high temperatures.

School officials say they have spoken with representatives from the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Poison Control, and Washington County.

The hope is that the results of further tests will be in by Friday.

This type of issue is increasing daily within the United States.  As water quality decreases the need for more effective filtering becomes critical on a per household basis.

Article was originally published at

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