Mexico temporarily closed 88 schools due to toxic leakage from a copper mine, keeping about 5,000 students out of the classroom.
School children in the state of Sonora were due to head back to school this week, but their first day was delayed because officials feared they may come in contact with the sulfuric acid-contaminated water, BBC News reported.
On Aug. 6, 10 million gallons of acids from the Buenavista Copper Mine spilled into two rivers posing a threat to much of Northern Mexico.
The Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers spread the leakage throughout northern Mexico. About 800,000 people have been affected.
It's unclear exactly when Sonora students will head back to class, but they will not be let in until the regions affected have clean drinking water, Sonora state civil protection director Carlos Arias said.
The leak likely stemmed from defects in newly built holding ponds at the mine, Arias said.
The acid was detected in the river a day later and the government cut off water supplies that stem from the river.
Now, officials are working to de-acidify the two rivers by adding heaps of calcium to the water. Acid levels are dropping, Mexico's National Water Commission said, but the water is still not totally safe.
The agency will continue to monitor water until most of the chemicals are gone.
Arturo Rodriguez, the head of industrial inspection for the Attorney General for Environmental Protection, claimed lax regulations contributed to the problem. The mine should have detected the spill before so much of the acid got out, he said.
With News Wire Services