Something stinks at Rifle school |

Something stinks at Rifle school

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colo. ” The cause of an intermittent foul odor that led administrators to close Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle two days early for the winter break has proven difficult to sniff out.

“We did a lot of things during the break with the sewer lines, but we didn’t find anything on the school property,” said Craig Jay, director of facilities for the Garfield School District Re-2.

Jay said Re-2 maintenance crews checked all the sewer lines for possible blockages and even ran a camera down the lines, looking for a possible cause, but found nothing.

“We are working with the city to resolve the issue,” Jay said.

However, Rifle Public Works Director Bill Sappington said the city has investigated the situation, too, and found no cause for the odor. Sappington said he had a conversation with a contractor that he presumed worked on the construction of the school, and was told that they have had similar problems at other similar structures.

“It seems to be the venting odor of the sewer system is getting sucked in through the air-handling system,” Sappington said.

But Jay said the air-handling system is working properly and is not the problem.

Classes resumed last week at Wamsley, after the holiday break. The smell has yet to rear its foul presence since students returned. Before the recess, Re-2 director of districtwide services Theresa Hamilton said the odor came and went, and that the city conducted air-quality tests prior to the holiday and found nothing harmful.

“Everything is safe,” Hamilton said. “It’s never been an issue of student safety, it’s just a little unpleasant.”

Jay confirmed that no imminent danger was present.

“There is no hazard to the children, it’s just a very bad smell,” Jay said. “We have cleaned the lines and have found no definitive cause, but we haven’t had the problem come back.”

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