The Rio Elementary School District Board has declared an emergency and moved to secure a permanent supply of drinkable water after a well supplying one school was found to contain alarming levels of nitrates.
The district last week shut off drinking fountains at Rio Del Valle Junior High School and brought in bottled drinking water.
Board members Wednesday decided to tap into a United Water District mainline at an estimated cost of $20,000.
"We know that high nitrate is damageable to children younger than 6 months, but we have nothing indicating damage to children 6 months and older," Rio School District Supt. John McGarry said.
Nitrate levels in water samples were 95 milligrams in a first round of tests and 122 when a second round of tests was done last month. Nitrate levels should not exceed 45 milligrams per liter, according to state standards, McGarry said.
McGarry said the cost for bottled water has been more than $30 a day.
"We trust the state when they say 45 milligrams is the maximum," McGarry said. "It is time to take precautions and not put our children at risk."
Construction of the water hookup will begin on April 9 and is expected to be completed by the beginning of May.