On January 23, a large number of students at Montclair State University were affected by a campus water line blowout in the Montclair, New Jersey area.
At around 11:00 a.m., the students noticed that either their water pressure was significantly lower or they were not getting any water at all. Crisainy Valdez, a sophomore major in sociology, said her day was cut short by the water main being cut.
“When I opened the shower to turn on the water, I got the text message from mine [resident assistant] and said, ‘Don’t use the shower,'” Valdez said. “I lost a few minutes of my morning so I was a little secured.”
Mackenzie Nelson, a freshman in the Language, Business and Culture major, said the problem affected her in the dining rooms.
“I was fine before I went to Sam’s [Place], but when I got there I wanted to get water, and I could only get maybe a sip of water in my cup before it was gone,” Nelson said.
The university sent out a text message alert at 12:22 p.m. to alert students to the water break and to tell them to check their email for more information. The email came 20 minutes later at 12:42 p.m. and said the university was in contact with nearby towns.
At 2:49 p.m., another text message notification was sent to the students 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 those students.
“I was outside, and then I came back and tried the water in my room again, and it was splashing,” Stahlman said. “In the beginning it was brown. And then, even after you left it [the water] running was clear, but it still wasn’t the right water pressure.”
Stahlman also said she was disappointed with how the university communicated with students about the issue.
“I have a group chat with some of my friends, and we were all like, ‘What’s up?’ mainly because we [hadn’t received] every email, [and] we didn’t have the lyrics yet,” Stahlman said. “You’d think the university would say something as soon as it became a problem, instead of waiting for a bunch of people to come up and say, ‘Hey, my water’s not working.’ [or] ‘The water is brown.’”
Kieran Barrett, deputy chief of police for the University Police Department, said they were continuing to investigate the issue.
“We are in contact with our local municipal and regional partners to assist in obtaining information or alerts [Montclair State]’ Barrett said.