An estimated 8 hundred and 50 thousand dollars will eventually be spent by the Ministry of Education to rectify the reported environmental issues at the Combermere School.

This was revealed by Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, as he delivered a ministerial statement on the issues at Combermere, this morning in the House of Assembly. Mr Jones also said the environmental problems at the school, which began two years ago but most recently re-emerged last November, have been blamed on a variety of issues, including septic gases, mould and the improper storage of chemicals at the school.

He said that following the school’s closure in 2015, an estimated four hundred thousand dollars was spent on testing, the general cleaning of the school, its septic tanks and manholes.

Another 4 hundred and 50 thousand dollars has since been aside for the institution; with some of this has already spent on storing chemicals, repairing prefab buildings and installing new female toilets. He added that that there is still work to be done.

“Installation of roof guttering to the north of the science block, replacement of the fume chambers stacks on the science block to ensure adequate dispersion above roof level, replacement of the additional kitchen grease trap, which is undersized. Further elevation and completed cleaning of the kitchens’ vent stack, relocation of the extractor fan installations to improve the ventilation of the school’s sick bay and the Secretary Treasurer’s Office.”

Consideration is also being given to the possible reallocation of the refuse collection and pickup area, the provision of a larger septic tank to serve the female student population, further drainage improvements around the building and the improved ventilation of the school canteen.

While acknowledging the extensive work done on the school over the years, Mr Jones acknowledged that there had been recent cases of deliberate tampering.

“On Thursday, January 26, 2017, hand towels and children’s book leaves were found to be blocking drainage pipes from a toilet in the area some complaints had originated. This act would have allowed sewage gases to have been released into those places, if there were not identified and corrected by an external plumber and artisan of the school. And then, on Monday, 31st of January, a similar incident occurred which would have had the same effect,and I’m sad to report that last week, it was found after the closure of one of the (science) labs … that the teacher after leaving the class found two of the natural gas pipes were turned on and left in that lab.”

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