UConn Students' Water Supply Yellow at Off-Campus Building | NECN
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UConn Students' Water Supply Yellow at Off-Campus Building

(Published Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016)

The last thing you want to see gushing out of a faucet is brown, dirty water that - once drained - leaves your white tub covered in black residue. Residents at Cedar Ridge Townhomes in Willington, including UConn students who live off-campus, say it's a common sight.

"Since move-in day, we have had straight yellow water," resident Alexandra Valenta said.

"It seems like a nightmare at this point to have to keep dealing with it," resident Cheyenne Allen said.

Allen, along with many other UConn students, moved in a month ago and said the filthy water sometimes brings an awful stench.

She displayed glasses filled with various shades of yellow water and some contained a layer of sediment on the bottom.

"Not able to drink with it, cook with it, bathe in it," Allen said.

Instead, Allen and others said they have been purchasing bottled water and showering elsewhere. To wash clothes, Allen and Valenta said they've been going back home to New Jersey.

Allen said the complex gave them three jugs of water and her roommate said the complex gave them each a Subway gift card for $10.

Photo credit: NBC Connecticut

"It's frustrating, especially paying the rent we do over here," Steve Nilla, another resident, said.

Lutz Management Company, which runs Cedar Ridge, said they're working to fix the problem by employing a water specialist, monitoring and testing the water weekly and flushing the system.

An email to residents from the complex says, in part, "We are currently in the process of draining all of our hot water storage tanks, in hopes to drain the settlement (sic) out. We are hopeful that this will eliminate the discoloration issue at hand."

The email also says, "At this time, the water is safe to drink."

"I came home earlier today and ran the water, and it was brown and then started coughing out this black stuff," Nilla said.

"We're still gathering information on this, can't say for sure what's going on," Robert Miller, director of health for Eastern Highlands Health District, said.

Miller said the agency received a complaint on Wednesday regarding the issue and is working with the State Department of Public Health to clear up the problem with the water. He said there are several reasons the water could look and smell the way it does.

"There are many reasons water could be discolored or have a bad odor, but some of the common ones we come across are high iron content, high manganese content, and also there could be sulfur bacteria in the water," Miller said. "If you see water that doesn't look or doesn't taste right, prudent avoidance is probably the way to go until you feel comfortable about the water you're drinking."

Officials from the Department of Public Health believe that maintenance activities have caused iron and manganese to go into solution and discolor that water, but it's still under investigation.

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