A water main break off campus in the Montclair, New Jersey area affected a large number of Montclair State University students on Jan. 23.
Around 11 a.m., students started to notice that either their water pressure was significantly less or they weren’t getting water at all. Crisainy Valdez, a sophomore sociology major, said her day was interrupted by the water main break.
“As I opened up the shower to turn on the water, I got the text from my [resident assistant] saying ‘don’t use the shower,’” Valdez said. “It lost me a couple of minutes of my morning, so I was a little backed up.”
Mackenzie Nelson, a freshman language, business and culture major, said the issue affected her at the dining halls.
“I was fine before I left for Sam’s [Place], but once I got there, I wanted to grab water, and I was only able to get maybe a sip’s worth of water in my cup before it went away,” Nelson said.
The university sent out a text alert at 12:22 p.m. alerting students about the water break and telling them to check their emails for more information. The email came 20 minutes later at 12:42 p.m., stating that the university was in contact with the local towns.
Another text alert was sent to students at 2:49 p.m., saying the water pressure had returned. However, some students experienced brown or yellow water coming out of their faucets even after water pressure was restored. Natalie Stahlman, a freshman molecular biology major, was one of these students.
“I was out, and then I came back and was trying the water in my room again, and it was sputtering,” Stahlman said. “It was brown at first. And then, even after you let [the water] run, it was clear, but it still wasn’t the correct water pressure.”
Stahlman also said she was disappointed in how the university communicated to students about the issue.
“I have a group chat with some of my friends, and we were all like, ‘What is going on?’ especially because we [hadn’t received] any email, [and] we didn’t have the texts yet,” Stahlman said. “You’d think that the university would say something as soon as it became an issue, instead of waiting for a bunch of people to come forward and say, ‘Hey, my water’s not working’ [or] ‘The water’s brown.’”
Kieran Barrett, deputy chief of police for the University Police Department, said they will continue to follow the issue.
“We are in contact with our local municipal and county partners to be helpful in getting information or alerts to [Montclair State],” Barrett said.