Water contamination has forced the relocation of students from Summit Township Elementary School.

Superintendent quits in the midst of outcry over water contamination

Feb. 6, 2017
Parents in the Butler Area (Pa.) district had sought Dale Lumley's ouster because of water contamination at Summit Township Elementary School.

The superintendent of a school district in western Pennsylvania has resigned in the wake of public outcry over contaminated water at an elementary school.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Butler Area (Pa.) School Superintendent Dale Lumley's immediate resignation was disclosed Sunday night on the district's web site.

William Pettigrew, who retired as Mars Area School District superintendent in 2013, will serve as acting superintendent while the board looks for a replacement for Lumley.

Angry parents had been calling for Lumley's ouster after accusing the administrator of failing to take action when he learned that the well water Summit Township Elementary School in Summit Township, Pa., had dangerously high levels of lead and other contaminants.

"[F]or 118 days you chose to poison our children and faculty members, by ignoring these high levels," states a change.org petition that sought Lumley's resignation. "God willing these children and faculty are healthy with no permanent damage, but you had no way of knowing what would happen to them when you rolled those dice for 4 or 5 months while sweeping it under the rug. You put them at risk. That is unacceptable."

The online petition had 939 signatures as of Monday morning.

Because of the water contamination, Butler students began classes today at the old Broad Street Elementary School building.

Last month, the school district announced that students and staff at Summit had been instructed not to drink water from the well on the Summit property because of lead contamination; staff and students given bottled water.

Subsequent testing also found that E coli was contaminating the water. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released test results on Aug. 15 that showed lead levels at Summit as high as 55 parts per billion; acceptable levels are no higher than 15 parts per billion.

The state told the district it had to undertake an immediate action plan.

Lumley said in January that the DEP information wasn’t shared with school officials until September, but also admitted that “the district’s response to the DEP report had been “untimely and inadequate."

Video from KDKA-TV:

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