UC food service shut down temporarily due to water supply, safety issues


Central Michigan University maintenance crews worked to restore the Bovee University Center water supply after it was shut down Thursday morning.

Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management, said the water supply in the U.C. looked cloudy, prompting concern from facilities management that the water might not be safe.

The exact cause of potential contamination was not identified, as the initial "cloudy water" sample could not be tested.

"I've been here for 10 years and doing a chlorination (flush) on an existing system, that just doesn't happen very often," Lawrence said. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure it's safe."

University officials do not have the equipment available to test the water. Lawrence is seeking counsel from the Isabella County Health Department on where they can send samples of the water after they properly flush and chlorinate the system. The closest water supply testing lab Lawrence knew of is located in Lansing.

Lawrence added that as of 11 a.m. Thursday, no students, faculty or staff have reported feeling ill. All food service centers in the U.C. will be shut down for the day. An additional email announcement sent out shortly after 2 p.m. stated bathrooms in the U.C. were closed as well.

No other buildings on campus showed signs of potential contamination, according to a CMU press release issued at 10:35 a.m via email.

To make sure the water supply is safe, Lawrence said crews will flush the entire system, then pump chlorine through the pipes to kill any potential bacterial infestation. The chlorine will sit in the pipes for an estimated three hours before crews attempt another system flush.

Lawrence hopes crews only need to chlorinate and flush the system one time. Samples of the water supply should be in the hands of a qualified lab by mid-to-late afternoon.

He said the water outage is expected to continue into the evening hours Thursday, though a restoration time remains unknown, according to a university-wide email.

Check out cm-life.com for more updates on this story.


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