Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Water main break causes boil order on campus

The corner of 7th and 14th Avenue where the water main broke. Photo by Ryan Silvola.

First-year Brianna Meyer luckily got her fountain drink in the Center for Student Life (CSL) right before the staff hung “out of order” signs on all of the soda machines at approximately 1:15 p.m. today.
This was due to a boil order placed on the campus from 7th to 14th Avenue, which includes the CSL as well as the Brew, because of a water main break last night in the area of 36th Street and 14th Avenue, according to an email sent out by public safety around 1 a.m. this morning.
“It is inconvenient,” said Meyer, “just because we go (to the CSL) and we expect there’s going to be water, but I also understand that it’s been really cold this winter, and it’s been warming up so no one was really prepared for the water main to break. It’s not really (the school’s) fault, but I’m just annoyed.”
Keri Rursch, Augustana’s director of public relations, said that the boil order is likely to be lifted tomorrow afternoon.
According to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, when it gets cold outside, water main breaks are more common, because the pipes expand and contract, which weakens them.
Julie Stone, board manager of the CSL, said that they ordered 150 cases of bottled water from their vendor, Performance Food Group, for tonight and made blue raspberry Kool-Aid and iced tea for dinner. She said they will serve the same food menu they were planning on serving.
“The only beverage we can serve that doesn’t have a water supply coming to it is milk and soymilk,” said Stone. “So everything else we have to improvise and use something else with. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure.”
Stone said the CSL has also ordered 150 cases of juice for tomorrow morning and plans to stay open until 9 p.m. like usual tonight.
If the order is not lifted by lunch tomorrow, they might serve a few types of soda, such as Serra Mist, Pepsi and diet Pepsi.
“We don’t have the facilities here to bring in 200 cases of pop and store it somewhere,” said Stone. “We are lucky enough to organize our coolers with water at this point.”
Community Advisor Isaac Schmied said that the Office of Residential Life organized a drop-off for shipments of bottled water in Westerlin and in the Office of Residential Life for students living in the dorms as well the juniors living in TLAs. Schmied also said that the Office of Residential Life will be supplying water starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
Jeannette Kuchler, a desk assistant at Westerlin, said that she started with seven cases of 24 bottles and had gone through three cases by 4:30 p.m.
“I’ve been handing out two waters per person at Westerlin…because they’re recommending that they don’t drink or cook with (the water),” said Kuchler.

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Water main break causes boil order on campus