Update: April 11, 2008 | FAQs(see
Water testing update: all buildings now clear
Results of the testing on water supplies to the four remaining buildings
impacted by Monday’s water pressure disturbance were negative. These buildings,
Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building, Curtis Laws Wilson Library, Emerson
Hall and the Physics Building, have been cleared and it is OK to use and
consume the water.
Building coordinators in these buildings may take down all warning
Water supply to all campus buildings is clear.
Update: April 9, 2008
Water testing update: many buildings cleared
Results from the testing of water supplies in 12 campus buildings (listed
below) are in and are negative. Water in those buildings has been cleared for
usage and consumption.
Water lines in the four remaining buildings have been flushed. Water samples
will be taken Thursday morning for additional testing and results can be
expected sometime Friday. Please continue to refrain from using or consuming
water in these buildings until otherwise notified.
Updates will be posted at ice.mst.edu as
they become available.
The following buildings are still impacted. Water should not be used or
consumed in these buildings:
The following buildings have been cleared as of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, April
The following buildings were not impacted:
Previous information (April 8, 2008)
On Monday, April 7, physical facilities staff at Missouri University of
Science and Technology discovered a possible compromise in the campus water
system. The problems are confined to the Missouri S&T campus.
Officials determined that pressure disturbances had caused water used for
heating and cooling systems on campus to mix with drinkable water in some
buildings. As a precaution, the campus community was advised not to use or
consume the water.
Officials began testing water supplies at various points on campus and
narrowed down the buildings impacted. It was determined that the city’s water
supply has not been impacted. Test results are expected later this week.
In the meantime, bottled water and hand sanitizers are being provided to all
affected buildings. Signs have been posted in campus buildings advising
students and employees not to use the water.
Because they are on a different water system, Missouri S&T residence
halls and cafeterias were not impacted. There have been no reports of sickness
due to drinking water on campus.
Water-supply testing is ongoing in the following buildings:
The following buildings were not impacted by Monday’s water pressure
disturbances. It is OK to use water in these buildings:
Officials from the Department of Natural Resources, the Phelps County Health
Department and the Rolla Municipal Utilities provided consultation.
Any questions related to city water supply can be directed to Rodney Bourne,
operations and public relations coordinator for Rolla Municipal Utilities, at
A loss of water in the chilled water loop was discovered Friday, April 4.
The chilled water loop, a closed-loop system used for campus heating and
cooling, houses approximately 25,000 gallons of water and requires soft water
and water treatment to operate properly. Due to leaks, the loop periodically
requires some replenishment from a campus soft water (potable) supply system. A
suspected pressure differential caused some of the chilled water to back flow
into the soft water supply system.
Timeline of events:
Friday, April 4
A loss of water in the chilled water loop was
discovered Friday, April 4. A leak in the water system was suspected. Physical
facilities conducted an underground search where leaks typically occur, but
found no leak. Physical facilities placed a non-hazardous green dye in the
water to help identify the leak.
Monday, April 7
Early morning:The search for the water leak
continued. The crossover in water lines was discovered Monday afternoon, and
university officials began working to find the cause and resolve the
3:45 p.m.: Officials
from physical facilities, environmental health and safety, administrative
services and communications met to review the situation. As a precautionary
measure, officials closed the water supply from the buildings affected.
By identifying which buildings have separate
water supplies, officials were able to determine which buildings were affected.
Because meals were being prepared for student dining services, the primary
concern was the residence halls and the Havener Center. Once it was determined
the buildings’ water supplies were not affected, the group reviewed remaining
buildings and narrowed the list to 19 buildings that could possibly have been
affected. That list was later reduced to 16.
4:15 p.m.: A short
email notice was sent to all faculty, staff and students cautioning them not to
drink the water in the suspect buildings.
By 5 p.m.: Staff from
EHS and communications completed placing signs on all accessible drinking
fountains in the suspect buildings warning against drinking the water as a
Missouri S&T plumbers
began taking samples from Emerson Hall, Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering
Building, and Curtis Laws Wilson Library to begin testing.
6:30 p.m. A more
detailed email message was sent to faculty, staff and students explaining the
situation and again warning not to drink the water.
Tuesday, April 8
Early morning:Water samples from the following
buildings were taken and sent to an independent water consultant: Schrenk Hall,
Rolla Building, University Center-East, Norwood Hall, Interdisciplinary
Engineering Building, Toomey Hall, Parker Hall, Fulton Hall, Computer Science
Building, Humanities-Social Sciences Building, Materials Research Center,
Engineering Research Laboratory, Harris Hall, Castleman Hall and Engineering
Management Building, as well as a control sample from McNutt Hall.
Physical facilities began flushing the water
lines in the four main buildings affected: Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering
Building, Curtis Laws Wilson Library, Emerson Hall and the Physics
As a precaution, hand-washing was restricted
and building contacts were asked to place additional signage on water fountains
and restrooms. Physical facilities purchased and distributed bottled water and
hand sanitizer for affected buildings.
13 samples (1 control sample and samples from
12 affected buildings) were sent to Anderson & Associates Consulting
Engineers (Ozark Testing), a certified lab, to test for bacteria. The lab
selection was approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the
Phelps County Health Department.
12:15 p.m.: An update was
sent to all faculty, staff and students again listing affected buildings.
3:15 p.m.: An email
notice was sent to all faculty, staff and students explaining that because of
delays in the testing, bottled water and hand sanitizer would be delivered to
the suspect buildings.
Wednesday, April 9
Late afternoon: Test results from the control
sample and the first 12 buildings came back all clear.
p.m.: An email notice was
sent to all faculty, staff and students announcing that water supplies in 12
buildings had been cleared. Building contacts in those buildings were asked to
remove warning signs from fountains and restrooms.
Thursday, April 10
Early morning:Physical facilities continued
thorough flushing of the water lines in the four remaining affected buildings
and took water samples to send to Anderson & Associates Consulting
Engineers (Ozark Testing).
4:30 p.m.: An email notice was sent to fall
faculty, staff and students reminding them not to consume the water and
announcing that test results were expected by Friday afternoon.
Friday, April 11
morning: Environmental health and safety staff began
ultraviolet testing with assistance from physical facilities on all water
outlets in four affected buildings to look for fluorescence from the dye. None
afternoon: Test results from Anderson &
Associates came back all clear.
1:45 p.m.: An email
notice was sent to all faculty, staff and students to clear all buildings.
Building contacts in the remaining buildings were asked to remove signage from
drinking fountains and restrooms.
Has it happened before?
There are no records or recollection of this previously occurring. Dye
is routinely added to the chilled water lines to find leaks. Leaks have
occurred, but they have not previously compromised campus drinking water.
What has been done to prevent future occurrences?
Physical facilities installed a backflow valve where it had previously been
missing in Emerson Hall. Plans are under way to survey all non-potable water
connections to ensure there is either an air gap or a backflow device at every
Who was involved in dealing with the problem?
Campus staff from physical facilities, environmental health and safety,
administrative services, communications, student health services
Representatives from Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Rolla
Municipal Utilities, Phelps/Maries County Health Department
Water consultants: Anderson & Associates Consulting Engineers (Ozark
Testing), Water & Energy Systems Technology Inc. of Mesa, Ariz. Water &
Energy Systems Technology provides advice on how to treat campus water and
boiler equipment on a monthly basis.
What chemicals or contaminants could have been in the drinking
Non-carcinogenic chemicals that are not highly toxic consisting of two
biocides used in the piping system to kill bacteria that could affect equipment
operation, one oxygen depleter to reduce corrosion in the system, one chemical
to control the PH levels, a non-hazardous green dye to determine location of
leaks. Materials safety data sheets (MSDS) are on file for each chemical in
environmental health and safety.
Were ethylene glycol and alcohol present?
Ethylene glycol and alcohol were not and have never been in the system.
What was the level of the chemicals?
Levels of sulfide are kept constant in the chilled water loop to keep the
equipment working properly. The oxygen depleter (30 lbs.) and the PH control
(1.5 gallons) were last added to the chilled water loop on Tuesday, April 1. No
biocides have been added to the loop in the past several weeks, as testing
revealed no need for biocide additives.
Following the leak, fresh water was added to the system, further diluting
any chemicals present.
What are the potential dangers of the chemicals?
The chemicals are not carcinogenic and are not highly toxic. If highly
concentrated, the chemicals could have caused vomiting and diarrhea. This was
not life-threatening. MSDS sheets on each chemical are available from
Environmental Health and Safety.
What buildings were affected?
What buildings were not affected?
Was anyone’s health affected? If so, how many?
There have been no confirmed cases of health problems attributable to the
water issue. Student Health Services has the MSDS sheets on file, as do the
Phelps County Health Department and Phelps County Regional Medical Center.
Why wasn’t the Mass Notification System used?
The manager of public relations and/or the director of communications make
the decision to enact the MNS. Because the situation was never viewed as being
life-threatening and any actions taken were simply a precaution, we decided the
situation did not warrant notification. Had there been a threat to the lives of
faculty, staff or students, we would have enacted the system. We don’t
want to cause undue alarm or subject text users to fees unless absolutely