Murky AA building water proves to be safe after tests

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

The water in the Applied Arts Building raised concerns earlier this semester after many reports from faculty and staff about the water being murky and having a bad smell.
“There has been some question about whether the drinking fountains in the AA Building were safe to drink out of since the construction project (this past spring and summer),” Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said in an email sent to staff on Oct. 8.
Furthermore, the email said, “The upstairs drinking fountain comes out a little cloudy initially, but this is just air in the system and goes away after running the water for a few seconds (it will eventually go away completely).”
The two separate tests conducted were searching for bacteria and metal/lead in the water that had possibly built up while the water was not in use during construction.
According to the findings of the testing firm hired to conduct the sampling, both reports concluded that the water is “very good quality EBMUD water and safe to drink.”
“We had to close the water fountains for a second time because initially, they only tested for bacteria. I questioned if they tested for metals and that’s what ended up happening,” King said.
Construction was done over the summer and included moving the nursing department into new facilities and a face-lift of many of the classrooms.
Assistant surgical nursing professor Mary Hernandez said, “The water looked, smelled and tasted (because I accidentally took a drink) not good. Initially it was bad, but once it was fixed you could tell that there was more water pressure.”
Hernandez said she and other professors use bottled water for drinking, but that the water in the building “meets the needs of the nursing department and that “it’s not a problem anymore.”
For the first few weeks of the semester, the water dispensed out of faucets and water fountains was visibly murky and had an odd smell, she said.
King said, “As soon as the (2018) spring semester ended in May, the building was supposed to be unoccupied during construction. So, the water sat in the pipes for around three months.”
Nursing major Thaileen Andrews said that she did not notice anything different about the appearance or smell of the water until she overheard classmates talking about it.
“I had no idea about it until earlier in the semester when I overheard some classmates talking about how the water didn’t look good,” she said.
The nursing department, which was once housed in the now torn down Health Science Building, came to the AA Building with numerous upgrades but were met with the water issue.
“I did receive the email. Honestly, I noticed that the water had improved even before they sent out the email,” Hernandez said.
King said during this whole situation, people in the AA Building “have been drinking good water and will continue to drink good quality water.”