MONTPELIER – The students had a day off Jan. 8, the coldest day of 2015 so far, due to a burst pipe in a classroom near the cafeteria.
Principal Adam Bunting issued notice at 9:41 a.m., then followed up later with an explanation that the burst pipe was discovered around 8 a.m., then a “we experienced a significant spill from our heating system,” that was quickly cleaned up, but the smell of Propylene glycol permeated the air.
Bunting said that, as of around noon, the smell is fading and that the school had a thorough air quality testing in spring 2014 and the school was found to have “good air.” Bunting also said glycol is considered by OSHA to be a “safe, low toxicity chemical.”
At approximately 8 a.m., we discovered a burst pipe in one of our classrooms near the cafeteria. We experienced a significant spill from our heating system. While our maintenance staff responded quickly and expertly, fumes from the spill permeated much of the building. I made the decision to cancel school because many of our students and staff are sensitive to the smell of the propylene glycol which used to be a significant portion of the fluid in our heating system. We drained the glycol in 2013, but a residual smell persists.
The good news is that the smell is already fading and we plan to run our sports events this evening. Also, to alleviate concerns, we conducted thorough air quality testing in the spring of 2014. The consultant we used reported that we had “good air” despite any of our previous leaks in 2012. In addition, while glycol can cause headaches and nausea in concentrated amounts, it is considered by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency known as OSHA, to be a safe, low toxicity chemical.