Late yesterday, a power outage at the DC Water Authority’s Fort Reno Pumping Station resulted in low water pressure, affecting parts of the city, including AU’s main campus. The outage was quickly addressed, but resulted in a low water pressure advisory. Eventually this evolved into a water quality alert for all in the affected area. We advised the community that DC Water issued a boil water advisory, which cautioned those affected not to drink or cook with water directly from the tap. Based on the protocol for testing the water and clearing the system, we have been advised that the advisory will continue through tomorrow (Friday, March 7) afternoon.
Attached is a document from DC Water that includes answers to frequently asked questions about this kind of water service interruption. AU has made arrangements for drinking water, adjusted dining options and taken other safety precautions for the duration of the advisory period.
Last night, we contacted our vendors who supply AU with bottled water in event of an emergency. Those supplies arrived this morning, and staff from Auxiliary Services and Residence Life are providing water to students at the main desks in each of our main campus residence halls. Each main campus resident student will be supplied a 16.9 oz. bottle this afternoon, another this evening, and a third will be provided tomorrow morning. It should be noted that students living in the Berkshire Apartments are not in the affected area.
Supplies of bottled water have been replenished at two campus retail locations, the Eagle’s Nest and the Campus Store.
Those who work on the main campus or in three off-campus facilities in the advisory area (4545 42nd Street, Brandywine and 4620 Wisconsin) are advised to drink bottled water or, if kitchen facilities are available, boil water for drinking. (All other off-campus facilities are outside the advisory area and are not affected.) Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring their own supply of water to work tomorrow.
TDR and Einstein’s are open and are taking necessary precautions to prepare food and cook only with boiled water. Some items may be temporarily eliminated from the menu. These locations also have bottled water available.
Other food service outlets that do not have the capacity to easily adjust to the guidelines for food preparation during the advisory period are closed. These include Argo Tea, Starbucks, Freshii and Global Fresh.
Other Safety Measures
DC Water advises that it is safe to shower or bathe, as long as water is not ingested. Please see the attached FAQ.
The Health Center is monitoring activity for possible illness, and has had no reported cases that would be related to this incident. Please see the attached FAQ if you are concerned about ingesting water that is not safe.
AU’s Office of Facilities Management has been monitoring water pressure and confirmed that throughout this period, we have sufficient water pressure to deal with fire suppression, in the event of a fire.
Through our facilities staff and building marshals, we will post notices on drinking fountains and in kitchens and restrooms, to alert visitors not to drink the water.
DC Water assures us that there is no contamination of the system. This water advisory is a necessary health and safety precaution. We are taking steps to provide campus residents with drinking water and to advise faculty, staff, non-resident students and visitors what precautions to take, until the advisory is lifted.
If there is a significant change in the situation, we will use AU alerts and email to update the community. If there is no significant change, we will communicate again tomorrow afternoon, when we are updated on the status of the advisory.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
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