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Boil-water advisory issued after body found in Highland Park Reservoir

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Tuesday afternoon, the city issued a boil-water advisory following the discovery of a body at the Highland Park reservoir.

The find was reported by reservoir workers on their morning rounds, and officers reacted at about eight in the morning. The body was eventually found by a police scuba squad.

The reservoir will need to be emptied and inspected before being used again, but according to police, the city “immediately bypassed” it as soon as the body was discovered and there were no concerns about the safety of the drinking water.

At 12:51 p.m., the city issued a boil-water advisory for neighborhoods that are part of the reservoir. The recommendation led to the closure of all Rochester City School District offices and schools on Wednesday.

To ensure that there has been no impact on the water quality, many samples will be taken from the distribution system.

The environmental health manager for Monroe County, Starr O’Neil, stated, “We can’t say ‘Yes, it’s absolutely clean.’ Those are coliform tests, and they take about 16-24 hours to get results back.”

“We think so with all the initial tests, but we have to make sure the public is safe — hence the abundance of caution for this boil-water notice.”

The Rochester City School District closed all of its offices and schools on Wednesday and canceled after-school programs on Tuesday as a result of receiving the warning.

“This is a very, very sad situation, but it compounds being that this happened near our water supply,” said Mayor Malik Evans. “It’s important we exercise this abundance of caution in terms of this boil-water advisory.”

The identity of the body is unknown. The cause of the body’s discovery in the reservoir is still being looked into.

The reservoir is “intentionally challenging” to enter, according to Rochester Police Department Captain Greg Bello, who also stated that the city will examine its security protocols.

“It’s certainly fenced off, and we’re reviewing camera to footage to see how this person would have gotten there,” Bello stated.

“As you can see, there’s a 10-foot fence with what appear to be spikes on top behind me. We’re investigating how this person may have entered the building because it’s difficult to enter without a key or by bypassing the barrier.”

To account for pupils not attending class on Wednesday, the city also changed the hours of operation for its R-centers.

All R-Centers will be open from noon to seven o’clock, except the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center and the David F. Gantt R-Center, which will open at ten a.m.

Calling 911 is requested of anyone with information.

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