By Lauren Minore
Trenton Water Works advised residents in Trenton, Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township and Hopewell Township to boil their water before ingestion on Sept. 27, according to a press release. The water disinfection process was disrupted by chlorination levels dropping too low due to an equipment malfunction in its water distribution system.
According to Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown, the Lawrence Township Health Officer contacted the university in the early morning on Sept. 27 to notify them that there would be a boil water advisory issued by Trenton Water Works to all of its customers.
“After the advisory was issued, Mike Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations, spoke to the Lawrence Township Health Officer again to determine what to expect for the duration of the advisory,” Brown said. “She provided guidelines for cooking that were issued to Gourmet Dining, which they enacted immediately.”
Students were alerted of the issue at 7:49 a.m. via RiderAlert, Rider’s emergency and weather alert system. Cases of water bottles were immediately distributed to all residence halls and locations in public and academic buildings, including Anne Brossman Sweigart Hall, Canastra Health and Sports Center and the Student Recreation Center, among others.
The university was in contact with Lawrence Township every two hours for the remainder of the day until 7 p.m., and then beginning again at 7 a.m. on Sept. 28 until the advisory was lifted, according to Brown.
The advisory was lifted at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 28.
“After notifying our campus community, the university and Gourmet Dining resumed normal operating procedures,” Brown said. “Additionally, the facilities staff opened all of the domestic water hydrants on campus for five minutes each to flush the system.”
According to Reca, during the duration of his career at Rider, this incident was the fourth time it occurred, not related to a hurricane or inclimate weather conditions.
“This is the reason we maintain 10,000 bottles of water on campus at all times for emergency purposes. We also have filters on all of our drinking water throughout both campuses,” Brown said.
Community Director Sue Perls said that she recently read “Trenton Kids Count 2019: A City Profile of Child Well-Being” and learned there are higher levels of lead and contaminated water in areas of Trenton, New Jersey, than in Flint, Michigan.
“There are people in our surrounding community, in our own backyard, that deal with issues of contaminated water on a daily basis,” Perls said. “As a Rider employee, I am thankful for the response of upper administration. They successfully delivered water bottles across campus in a timely fashion and they are in constant contact with Trenton Water Works to ensure that we are in the loop.”