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Recent Tests Show No Danger to Health of Kershaw School Students in Mt. Ephraim

By Leigh Anne Hubbs

Gloucester City News

  Perry Refolo of TTI Environmental presented plans for continued groundwater quality testing at Kershaw School and the municipal building during March’s Mt. Ephraim Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

  In attendance were Mayor Joseph Wolk, Commissioner Bruce Greenwald and Borough Clerk Terry Shannon.

  Refolo said that in 1998 a gasoline tank was removed from the ground on the other side of town hall.

  It had leaked, contaminating the soil and groundwater. The soil was removed in 2000, and six monitoring wells were installed to track the spread of the contaminated groundwater.

  As of 2003, Refolo said, well tests showed acceptable groundwater quality on the Kershaw property.

  However, a well on the municipal building property did not have acceptable levels, prompting the borough to have an air quality test performed by the County Health Department.

  Ms. Shannon said the results revealed that there was not any vapor intrusion detected.

  In February, Superintendant Joseph Rafferty and Refolo toured the basement of Kershaw School.   Refolo inspected the area near the sump pump and said the contaminated groundwater had not intruded the basement.

  Therefore, there is no risk to the health of students and staff.

  Three more wells are to be installed, and testing will resume later this month.

  In other news, the annual School Election will be Wednesday, April 27, from 2 to 9 p.m. at Kershaw.

  If the borough has a tax levy cap question, then the polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

  Fire Department President Rich Holmes spoke to the School Board about the Bell Road Drainage Project and its effect on the district.

  Some of the drainage pipes run through Kershaw’s property, he said.

  Construction on that pipe section will not begin until school has ended.

  Holmes said the project is due to begin on or about June 1, and should take 45-60 days to complete.

  It will not only improve drainage, but will improve the safety and quality of life for everyone living within that neighborhood.

  Plans include widening the drainage pipes so that their capacity will hold four times more water than it currently can.

  The contractor bid for this project will be awarded sometime in April, he said.

  Business Administrator Melissa Raywood was excited to talk about the new security system at Kershaw consisting of 24 cameras covering common areas including the playground and stairwells.

  A secure internet link will allow the Police and Fire departments to view inside the school in the event of an emergency.

  Raywood reviewed the proposed 2011-12 budget, and said salaries and benefits represent 49 percent of it, and another 31 percent is allocated for tuition paid to other districts.

  Board Member David McDonough said the district is at or below average for spending when compared to its District Factoring Group.

  Board President Dominick Cipolone said the district is becoming more cost efficient.

  This year’s reading incentive for the students of Mary Bray involves taping Mr. Rafferty to a wall at the end of the school year.

  Students will earn one inch of duct tape for every book they read.

  A different yet equally fun incentive is in the works at Kershaw involving Principal Michael Hunter.

  The next BOE meeting will be Monday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Kershaw’s Media Center.