Middle School Issues Expected to Bring Out Parents Again

Parents are expected to turn out again Thursday night at the Northport school board meeting to demand answers about health concerns at Northport Middle School.

A letter from Superintendent Robert Banzer on Monday about the discovery of mercury vapors outside the building and the resurfacing of a 2001 letter from the Suffolk County Health Department  about chemicals linked to a leaching pool on the grounds have reignited demands for action.

Parents have previously called for a sickout of the school, citing a long list of health problems over many years that they blamed on the presence of buses, and what they believe to be dangerous elements  in the air and soil of the building.

Banzer notified parents on Monday that an environmental firm had found mercury vapors outside the building. A few months ago, HVAC units on the roof of the building were blamed for reports of odors around the building.

Parents say they are angered by the long history of problems they say have occurred at the school.

In 2001, the Suffolk County Health Department wrote twice to the district, first on Oct.30 to report “compounds at concentrations indicative of unpermitted discharges of toxic or hazardous materials” related to a leaching pool on the school’s grounds. Those compounds included silver, copper, cadmium, lead and aluminum. The three-page letter laid out a series of steps the district was required to take to alleviate the problems.

The second letter, dated Dec.5, 2001, acknowledged the success of remediation efforts but noted that the district needed to remove the contaminated soil within 90 days.

The school board will convene Thursday night at 7 at the William J. Brosnan School.

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