Roughly 10,000 bottles of water were piled on pallets outside the cafeteria. While it seems like a lot, Caverly said with a population of roughly 600, roughly 1,000 bottles are used each day.

With that, Caverly said, came a teaching moment for the students about recycling, as thousands of plastic bottles have infiltrated the school.

Businesses donate water to Marshwood Middle School

ELIOT, Maine — Marshwood Middle School expects a minimum of another two weeks before testing of E. coli completes, but there is no shortage of water in the meantime, thanks to several area businesses.

Roughly 40,000 bottles have either been donated or guaranteed from Hannaford Supermarket, Cumberland Farms and Home Depot, as the middle school of roughly 600 students and staff members make due while the school’s well water undergoes more testing.

“Everything considered, it’s been a great couple of weeks, the family and community support has been outstanding,” said John Caverly, principal of Marshwood Middle School.

High levels of E. coli were found in quarterly water samples taken by the state earlier this month, resulting in a consumption restriction of the water. Caverly said the cause of the breach was most likely a valve that had its seal opened, possibly due to the dense snowpack.

The water is safe for students and staff to wash their hands, but it’s been recommended that they bring their own water to school, but the thousands of donated bottles has made hydration much easier.

“Really the only change is our students are grabbing a bottle of water rather than going to the water fountain,” Caverly said.

Roughly 10,000 bottles of water were piled on pallets outside the cafeteria. While it seems like a lot, Caverly said with a population of roughly 600, roughly 1,000 bottles are used each day.

With that, Caverly said, came a teaching moment for the students about recycling, as thousands of plastic bottles have infiltrated the school.

“The recycling club has been really busy,” Caverly said.

Caverly said the cafeteria employees are going through all the precautions when using the water, including boiling all that will be used for cooking. The school is also currently using cardboard trays rather than the reusable ones, another precautionary measure, Caverly said.

In early May, three of the five water samples came back with high levels of E. coli, a food or water-borne bacteria, certain strains of which can cause severe discomfort or infection.

After a failed test, Caverly said work was done to mitigate the problem before three weeks of state-mandated testing reveals if the water is drinkable. Caverly said the school is awaiting the first round of test results, which were taken last week. If all the tests come back negative, Caverly said he expects the water to be ingestible within the first week of June.