Students living in dorms who are experiencing brown water coming from their taps and faucets should not be concerned, said University of Connecticut officials, as maintenance on the pipes can result in sediment build ups as the system is flushed.
“These issues can come up when water lines have leaks or other areas that need repair, which isn’t unusual on such a large campus,” said UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz over email. “It’s the same thing that happens at homes and private businesses, although the sheer number of buildings on our campus makes it a more common occurrence here.”
Mansfield Apartments resident Valeria Popolizio, a sixth-semester political science and human rights major, tweeted about dirty water coming from the taps in her apartment when she moved back after winter break last week. In the video, the tap sputters and spits dark brown water into the sink, an issue Popolizio said has happened before.
Can you believe I pay $8,610 a year to live in an apartment on campus that has water like this? And every time I call for work order I’m told “just run the water for 15 minutes” but really it takes 2+ hours of continuously running water to clear out @UConn pic.twitter.com/CONSZZG2zN
— Vale (@ValeePopolizio_) January 16, 2019
“I’ve been living in Mansfield since early move in of the semester last semester and I have had this issue happen to me about seven times,” Popolizio said. “Every time I call work order they tell me to just run the water for 15 minutes, but it takes two hours. It taints my bathtub, my sink, my toilet.”
The brown water was because of Mansfield Apartments undergoing scheduled maintenance, Reitz said.
“UConn repaired a piece of equipment Tuesday (last week) in Mansfield Apartments’ pipes, and needed to shut off the water temporarily to do the work,” Reitz said. “Some sediment can get into water lines during shutdowns, resulting in brownish water once the service is restored and the pressure pushes the sediment out. This is resolved by simply running the water for a few minutes to flush out the sediment. It’s not an inherent problem with the water distribution system or water quality itself.”
Popoloizo said that the brown water is symptom of a larger issue with UConn’s water system.
“I know most Mansfield residents have to deal with this and it’s time-consuming, a waste of water, and just frustrating that I am paying this much and not even getting clean water at all times,” she said. “They say it happens when they flush out the systems but that seems like just a band aid solution for something that needs to be fixed for good.”
In 2016, several buildings on and around UConn faced similar issues, with discolored water in Cedar Ridge Apartments , Mansfield Apartments and Buckley. These issues were reported to have been caused by pipe maintenance.
While the water in Mansfield Apartments is now running clear, as the pipes were flushed over the weekend, Popolizio said she wants to see changes, as former residents have reported the same issue in the past.
“Some (alumni) have responded to my tweet and said they’ve dealt with this,” Popolizio said. “Some even say that it has affected their hair and skin.”
Marlese Lessing is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @marlese_lessing.