Unit 2 residents report brown water coming from tap

Sunny Shen/Staff

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Unit 2 residents reported brown tap water coming out of their bathroom sinks early Friday morning, according to a series of posts on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page. 

The water’s discoloration was primarily due to a large system flush performed by plumbers last Friday, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. He added that the flush disturbed normal pipe sediment buildup.

“Students are always encouraged to submit a work request for any maintenance issues directly,” Ratliff said in an email. “If they have any specific needs as a result of their issue, they may contact their Resident Director.”

According to campus freshman Owen Doyle, who first posted on the Overheard at UC Berkeley page, the tap water in the Unit 2 bathrooms began to “run brown” as he washed his face, about 2:45 a.m. Doyle, who also included a video of the water, added in a comment that the water looked even worse about an hour later.

In the comments, some students compared the discolored water to green tea and lemonade.

Later that Friday, campus freshman Shor Martin also posted on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page — while Jaeson Kim, another campus freshman, posted on Reddit.

“I initially thought that there was just a problem with the faucet that I was using so I turned on the other faucets and even the showers. But all of them had the same running brown water,” Kim said in an email. “I was forced to finish brushing my teeth in my dorm’s water fountain. The water was fine there.”

Only one student reported the discoloration to the campus, according to Ratliff. He added that students can run the tap on cold for several minutes until the water becomes clear and any sediment is flushed from the pipes.

According to campus freshman Austin Hoang, who serves as representative for Cunningham Hall in the Residence Hall Association, the water went back to normal by the end of the day and has continued to be normal.

Not all students were satisfied with UC Berkeley’s response, however.

“Other residents and I felt that our health could have been at risk when we saw the brown water,” Kim said in an email.

Others, like Hoang, said UC Berkeley should have informed the Unit 2 Residents about the plumbing repairs and turned off the water during the repairs.

Despite the water going back to normal, some students, like Kim, said they continue to question the quality of the water they use.

“Until a clear and definite statement is given about the incident we will continue to feel apprehensive about the quality of the water that we use daily,” Kim said in an email.

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.