An odor in the N.C. State University water supply kept orientation students from drinking fountain water for more than a day.
Immediately after the university received calls from a maintenance worker last Wednesday, campus officials began notifying students and distributing bottled water.
Signs were posted at all water fountains and in bathrooms, a home page alert and campus-wide e-mail was issued, and dining halls refrained from using tap water in preparing food.
The odor was reported in the Cates Avenue area on main campus.
NCSU spokesman Mick Kulikowski said the odor disappeared after the water system was flushed on Thursday afternoon. Tests of the water system subsequently showed the water was safe to drink.
No reports of the water causing anyone harm were received by the university.
Robert Massengill, associate public utilities director for the city of Raleigh, said that they investigated the issue and could not determine what the odor was or where it came from.
He said the odor was most likely caused by the polyvinyl chloride piping glue used during the installment of new plumbing at NCSU.
PVC glue is used for the smaller pipes on NCSU’s campus, while the larger pipes that serve most of the city do not use the glue. After PVC glue is used, an odor can occur if the pipes are not flushed properly, Massengill said.
Kulikowski said the water odor was not reported in any other part of Raleigh. He said he couldn’t recall a similar occurrence in more than a decade.
Massengill said he couldn’t give an estimate on the cost of flushing the water system.
Greg Feller, spokesman at the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, said the authority receives up to 75 calls a year from customers who report a taste or odor other than chlorine in their water, and that water odor complaints are usually not dangerous and do not require a system flush.
NCSU students said despite some inconveniences, the university handled the situation well.
Yaseline Munoz said she was not affected by the issue because of the university’s actions.
Will Swaringen, a freshman orientation student, said there was no shortage of drinking water available to him.
“There were water bottles stationed everywhere. You’d be walking, I’d have like ten water bottles at the end of the day,” he said. “Every water fountain everywhere had a sign on it too, which was pretty impressive.”
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