"Stinky" Rockland County School Has a Gas Problem

By Katy Tur
|  Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010  |  Updated 8:35 PM EDT
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"Stinky" Rockland County School Has a Gas Problem

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Rotting flesh, sulfur, and sewage. Those are just some of the ways parents and students describe the disgusting smell that's been permeating Laurel Plains Elementary school in New City, Rockland County.

The problems started four weeks ago when Clarkstown Schools Superintendent Margaret-Keller-Cogan says numerous staff and pupils began reporting similar symptoms: headaches, stomach pain and a metallic taste in the mouth.

Laurel Plains Elementary has had problems with the sewage system in the past -- which is why the pipes already get cleaned out twice a year. But this time, the sewage system wasn't the problem.

Numerous tests were done by environmental groups with no definitive results -- That was until around 5:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, October 12th, when scientists found "unusually high methane concentrations in the soil."

Because of the findings, students will once again be redirected to Clarkstown South High School tomorrow morning and at least through the end of this week.

When the findings were announced an audible groan was let out by parents in attendance of a 7 p.m. meeting at the school. And although students were not allowed back to school on Tuesday, staff who were in the building that day once again reported feeling ill.

Scientists do not know how these chemicals are in the soil.

While parents are upset that these tests weren't done sooner, Dr. Martin Rutstein from Environmental Consulting and Management Services Inc. says he's been doing testing according to proper professional guidelines.

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