Western’s boil water notice

Written by: Libby Thoma | Staff Writer

On Wednesday, April 17, Western released an email stating that a water main break on campus affected the following buildings: Administration, The Cottage, ITC, Maple Hall, Campbell Hall, Bellamy Hall, Academic Programs Support Center and the Advising Center. 

Drinking water in said buildings was not guaranteed to be safe and was sent off to be tested to ensure safe potability levels. The aforementioned buildings were then put under a 24-hour boil water notice, ordered by the City of Monmouth. 

A water main break occurs when the water main, the service line maintained by the city to ensure clean water is delivered to taps, acquires a hole or a crack, allowing surrounding soil and other contaminants to seep in. Contaminants include but are not limited to debris and bacteria. To fix this issue, the pipe is dug up and repaired or replaced, water quality is tested to ensure safety and the hole is patched up. 

The waters were said to be okay for handwashing — just not drinking. Hand sanitizers and water bottles were placed in the affected buildings for extra caution during those 24 hours. These buildings were closed due to safety concerns, causing classes to be canceled and faculty, staff and students to be evacuated. On Thursday, April 18, Western released that the test returned and that the water from the affected buildings was safe to drink. The boil water notice was subsequently lifted.  

If this occurs again, it is important to limit water use as contaminated water can put one at risk for waterborne diseases. Water filters such as Brita are only for filtering potable drinking water, so before a safety — potability notice — it is recommended to drink other liquids or bottled water and shower as little as possible. 

There is no need to worry, as of April 18, the water is officially safe to drink.

Contact the author at ethoma23@mail.wou.edu