A construction project is being blamed for sending a mysterious white cloud into an elementary school that sickened students.
“Some of them had to get oxygen, and a lot of them are throwing up,” said a mom of one of the students at Walnut Grove Elementary. Crews were working on a sewage line just steps from the small school. “There is a material that they inject and some of the smell and odor of that came into the building,” said Don Beno, superintendent of the Delta River Unified School District.
There were concerns initially that the odor was a gas, but a Sacramento Area Sewer District spokesman says that wasn’t the case. “The construction we had was installing a liner in an existing pipeline,” said Dillon Miele, “and they would not be typically injecting some type of gas. They use hot water or steam to cure that liner.” The sewer district says it would not inject any kind of harmful gas when school is in session. Gas or steam, students were scared and ready to go home. While they were allowed to go home, some parents say they never received a phone call to get their children. “It was a timing issue,” Beno said. “In a small community, people will hear sometimes before the phone calls go out.” Once each student was cleared by the medics, they were released to their parents.