Water boil order issued for Charleston

Analicia Haynes and Cassie Buchman

A city-wide boil order for Charleston has been put into place until 11 a.m. Monday as a result of a large water main break on Douglas Drive at Alan Drive.

People are advised not to drink tap water from a faucet or fountain until the boil order has ended. Water must be boiled until bubbles start to form, according to a dispatcher from the Charleston Police Department.

Once boiled, the water is able to be used for cooking and drinking.

Signs were placed throughout residence halls telling students not to drink from water fountains and alerting them of the situation. They were advised to only use the water after it has been put through a five minute rolling boil.

All the soda machines were turned off in the dining centers. In the kitchen, handwashing stations, where boiled water was put in a big container with soap, were set up.

To let students know about the water boil order, an EIU Alert email was sent out and it was put on the app Pantherlife as well as Housing and Dining and residence hall Facebook pages.

Mark Hudson, director of Housing and Dining, said after getting the message at 11 a.m. that a boil order was in place, he sent out a message to campus staff in the university apartments, Greek Court and all the residence halls.

Housing and Dining staff moved some water bottles around from places such as Old Main, where they are used for admissions tours, Panther Catering, the C-stores and other areas to be used in the dining centers.

All the ice machines were turned off, and dining staff took the top layer of ice they knew was clean and put it in containers in freezers to use for Monday.

Showering is fine, but drinking, cooking or brushing one’s teeth with water that has not been boiled yet is not, Hudson said.

“You shouldn’t turn on the tap and put anything in your mouth,” Hudson said.

Gary Cohoon, a food service sanitation laborer in Thomas Dining, said it had been kind of hectic since the boil order went out, carrying water, soda and Gatorade to the front of the line to get everyone something to drink.

“We’ve really been going through the milk,” Cohoon said. “We’ve been kind of busy trying to get everything (in the freezer) to cool down, that way (students) aren’t going to have a hot drink.”

Students lined up inside the Thomas Hall Dining Center to get a choice of bottled water, Gatorade or soda as they ordered their pizza.

Jeremy Arzuaga, a student worker behind the pizza line and sophomore journalism major, said it was hard dealing with students in the beginning because the only options for them to drink were water or milk.

However, after staff brought in cans of Dr. Pepper, Pepsi and Mountain Dew, students were happy and easier to deal with, Arzuaga said

Akela Johnson, a sophomore kinesiology and sports studies major, said the order was a little burden but she was managing to cope since finding out about it early Sunday morning.

“I have like five cases of water and a case of Gatorade in my room so I’m in the midst of not having to drink from the water fountain,” she said.

Johnson said the situation is an inconvenience to people who have not experienced a similar situation, especially freshmen.

Nathan Orr, a freshman psychology major, said he would be happier about the situation if the order was issued before he took a shower and brushed his teeth.

“It would be awesome if they distributed water in the (residence) halls too, not just the dining halls,” Orr said.

Allie Alexander, a sophomore special education major and desk assistant at Andrews Hall said the entire hall staff has been taking precautions to make sure residents know about the situation.

However, Alexander said she knows the order is an inconvenient situation, especially after it first took effect and the dining halls were only serving milk, which she said created a problem for those who are lactose intolerant.

“It is inconvenient for people who don’t have bottled water,” Alexander said. “We’ve been telling people to use dining dollars in the market store to get water.”

Analicia Haynes and Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]