Water main break leaves U. facilities in dry spell


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Photo by Angelica Bonus |

Facilities on Busch and Livingston campuses post signs on bathroom doors after the water main break in Franklin cut off water supply for hours.


Subsequent to a major water main break in Franklin Township, the Busch and Livingston campuses lost water service for a number of hours yesterday, inhibiting many students from showering, drinking water and using restrooms on the campuses.

While water service began to return late yesterday evening, students are still advised to treat their water before drinking it for 24 hours following water restoration, and students on the campuses continue to see effects of the water main break today.

"Well, I think it's terrible, and it's really, really inconvenient, cause kids live on this campus," said Dana Abbott, a University College junior, before water service returned. "So how are they supposed to live without showers and toilets, you know?"

Abbott was one of many students expressing concerns over how to go about their daily routines.

Denarii Monroe, a Rutgers College senior who lives on Livingston campus, expressed similar concerns about showering.

"I have a program to go to tonight, and I have to be on Douglass by 8 o'clock, and I cannot take a shower," she said before water service was returned.

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Christine Trusiani said she went to Sbarro to have dinner around 4:30 p.m. because she didn't know where else to go. She said the Livingston campus branch would not serve fountain drinks to students, but rather only bottled soda and water.

"One of my friends went to Dunkin Donuts to try to get coffee, but Dunkin Donuts didn't have any coffee, and they almost fell asleep during class," she said.

Trusiani said by 5:30 p.m. the student center ran out of backup water and was forced to shut down the entire student center.

Greg Trevor, senior director of Media Relations, confirmed both the Livingston and Busch campus student centers closed by 6 p.m.

Both student centers were not the only areas on the campuses to be affected, as the dining halls were forced to serve food on paper plates and hand out bottled water for refreshments.

"We can't wash any china without water," said Alex Barnosky, the manager of Tillett Dining Hall.

Barnosky confirmed the dining halls continued to operate with a sparing use of water shipped from Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus.

According to a New Jersey American Water advisory, they noted no evidence of any water contamination, but as a standard precaution that is taken whenever New Jersey American Water loses pressure in their pipes, the company issued a warning advising residents to bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute and allow to cool before using water for consumption. Boiling the water inactivates all waterborne pathogenic microorganisms.

The advisory confirmed a 60-inch main break occurred late yesterday morning on Weston Canal Road in Franklin Township, disrupting water service to customers in parts of Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties.

According to the Rutgers-New Brunswick/Piscataway Emergency Management Boil Water Guidelines, during an advisory, it is essential that all water used for the following activities be boiled: drinking, preparing juices and ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking or brushing teeth and other dental hygiene.

Students may shower, bathe or wash using tap water, but should avoid swallowing water, the guidelines advised. Also, tap water may be used for hand washing, as long as students use plenty of soap and lather all surfaces of their hands and fingers for at least 20 seconds, then rinse well and dry hands. After washing hands, hand sanitizer may also be used as an extra precaution.

While it may be convenient for apartment residents to boil water, some dormitory residents are left wondering how they may be guaranteed clean water without the readiness of a kitchen.

"It's a little inconvenient cause my roommates and I are wondering, ‘How are we gonna brush our teeth tonight?'" Trusiani said.

The guidelines suggest boiling water in a microwave oven, which dormitory residents should have available to them in their rooms.

But if students do choose this route, it is advisable to include a glass rod or wooden or plastic stir stick in the container for safety.


Rachel Gillett

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