Section: News

Water main repairs cut off several living spaces

By Regan Hewitt


“ResLife owes me $15,” Sam Whipple ’16, who was doing laundry when the water was shut off, said.

On Monday at 9 a.m., the water supply for the North Campus Apartments (NCAs) and some of the New Apartments (New Apts) was cut. As stated in an email sent to residents, the Village of Gambier was connecting the water lines “feeding” the NCAs and New Apts to “the new main on East Woodside Dr.” The water would be cut off for an unspecified amount of time. All in all, standard procedure.

However, the email notifying the residents was not sent until 10:46 a.m. — an hour and 46 minutes after the water was cut off. At the bottom of the email, Housing and Residential Life added an apology, “for the late notice.”

“There was a misunderstanding with regards to who was notifying residents of the outage,” said Jill Engel-Hellman, director of housing and residential life and assistant dean of students. Hellman confirmed that a protocol is now being developed for any future similar occurrences and apologized again for any inconvenience.

One of Avery Tishue’s ’17 roommates called ResLife to ask when the water would be returned. “Their response was as helpful as their first email: ‘Later today,’” Tishue said. Similarly, when Whipple attempted to contact Maintenance, there was no response. Water was restored Monday at 4:30 p.m., although residents were not notified until a few hours after. 

In addition to this late notice, the NCAs and New Apts were placed under a “boil alert.” This meant that all water needed to be boiled before being used, even for something as simple as brushing teeth. This process is common practice, in cases of water outages and shut-offs, until the water can be tested and determined to be uncontaminated.

The boil order was only scheduled to last 24 hours. Engel-Hellman suggested that students suffering from the alert use water available to them in Peirce or the academic buildings. Indeed, some NCA and New Apts residents fled to the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC)  or residence halls showers.

An emergency sewer line repair near Old Kenyon and Leonard Hall caused a water shut-off for Old Kenyon on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Residents were issued a boil alert for a minimum of 24 hours.

As of 4:36 p.m.. on Tuesday, 24 hours after the boil alert, the water had still not been declared uncontaminated by Knox County.


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