School Closing Near Chemical Plant

An Addyston elementary school is closing because of a nearby chemical plant.

Hitchens Elementary School in the Three Rivers School District will be closing it's doors because the EPA has found that high levels of toxins are being emitted from the Lannxess chemical plant nearby.

Sensors placed on top of the school by the EPA measures the air quality at intervals throughout the day and those findings have resulted in the school closing until the company can find an immediate way to control emmissions.

In a statement released by the EPA, the agency says that the levels of volitile organic compounds (VOC) are  high enough to cause an increased cancer risk if people experience long-term constant exposure to these levels.

In a conversation by phone with a representative from Lanxess, plant manager Sandy Marshall says, "We're reviewing the findings.  We do take the matter seriously."  Marshall adds that the company has spent two million dollars over the last four months for emissions control.

The company did not expect the news to come down from the agency.

UPDATE:  The students of Hitchins Elementary School will be assigned to new schools until the plastics company can show that they have effectively controlled emissions coming from their plant.

Students will attend the following schools:

  • K1 will go to Miami Heights Elementary School
  • 1st graders will go to Three Rivers Middle School
  • Preschool and Kindergarden will go to CT Young Elementary School

The schools have said that teachers will call students individually.   If their way of getting to school is changed than the district says that students and their parents will also get a call from the transportation supervisor.

Some 300 students who are affected are scheduled to attend their new schools for the next three weeks through the winter break.

It is not clear at the moment who will pay the added cost for transporting students to their new locations.