Sonoma State University: Water safe to consume again

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After two rounds of testing, officials at Sonoma State University announced Wednesday that the water was safe to consume again and no longer requires boiling. 

Students and staff turned to bottled and boiled water for drinking and cooking after the water system at the Rohnert Park campus lost pressure over the weekend, increasing the possibility that sediment contaminated the water.   

"As we noted early on, we were issuing these restrictions in keeping with the state Water Resources Control Board directives," said Joyce Lopes Vice President of Administration and Finance at Sonoma State. "We appreciate the patience everyone on campus showed while this issue was being addressed. We're glad it has been resolved safely."

Though the restrictions have been lifted, the university advises campus water could have a cloudy appearance due to the recent loss in pressure. However, they reassure the water is safe to consume.  

No one was sickened, but for two days, the school community used anti-bacterial sanitizer after bathing or washing their hands with tap water.  

"The water is disgusting, if you cup it in your hands, we're all freaking out about it, " sophomore Izabella Durham told KTVU, noting that the water in her dorm went off completely on Sunday. 

"When it came back on, I decided to make some mac and cheese, and the water was white, gross, and you know we pay a lot of money to come to this school." said Durham.  

Not all students were that aggravated, but many said they wished the university expanded on its bottled-water distribution, which was limited to a few areas, and one bottle per person. 

"When my water bottle runs out in class, it's not that easy to get to the Student Center right away," said senior Natalya Swensen," so it would be a great idea for each classroom to have bottled water."   

Drinking fountains were plastered with "out of order" signs and tape placed over the spigots. 

"It is something to be aware of. I have to lecture for three hours," Psychology Professor Peter Behel told KTVU, as he realized he was starting an evening class without a beverage. 

"I'm going to have to figure out what to do about it, but I teach stress-management and that's all about making adjustments when you need to."

The university sent out E-mail alerts to keep the 11,000 staff, faculty, and students informed. 

Some people said emergency notifications would have been more effective at getting their attention. 
Others only heard about the advisory belatedly. 

"I just found out about it in class today," said senior Andre Dews on Tuesday, "because the teacher was saying it was the first Mountain Dew he had drank in 30 years."

Students in the residence halls were advised their filtration systems, such as Brita, were not a safeguard, since the water quality is still unknown. 

"If it's for safety, that's what we got to do, but it seems kind of excessive," said sophomore Alexis Smith, "and having to use bottled, and not even brush your teeth the usual way, it's those simple little things you miss."  

Students on a budget also worried about the expense.   

"I don't want to keep going to Safeway and spending three dollars on two gallons of water when I'm a college kid," complained junior Olivia Verbeck.

Anyone concerned about the condition or appearance of water is encouraged to contact Facilities Management at 707-664-2317.