Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro evacuated students the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 13 due to a sewer smell in the building.
According to Waldoboro Emergency Management Agency Director Kyle Santheson, a clogged urinal and Drano poured into the urinal appear to have been the source of the odor.
Santheson said 15-18 students and staff were experiencing symptoms from the odor and were checked out by emergency medical services at the scene. “The smell of it seems to have turned some stomachs,” he said.
He said the fire department did a walk-through of the school with four-gas meters, which did not detect any harmful compounds.
The blocked urinal, described as a no-flush or waterless type, was reported Thursday morning and efforts were made to clear the blockage by plunging and using Drano, according to Santheson.
The school did a good job evacuating students and ventilating the building prior to the arrival of first responders, according to Santheson, who said nothing smelled out of the ordinary when he arrived on scene.
Santheson said the smooth response to the event was an example of the importance of training and drills for emergency situations at the school.
RSU 40 Superintendent Steve Nolan, who met with Santheson at the scene, said he planned to meet with the school’s maintenance staff.
The school will reopen Friday, Dec. 14, he said.
Nolan said the school dismissed students after the evacuation. Parents were informed of the situation.
According to Waldoboro Police Chief John Lash, emergency services responded to the school following a report of a noxious odor and its effect on students.
Lincoln County Communications dispatched Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services and the Waldoboro Fire Department to the school shortly after 1 p.m. The Waldoboro Police Department and Warren ambulance and fire crews responded as well.