Boil water advisory extended at URI through Tuesday

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 24, 2008 – The state Department of Health’s boil water advisory remains in effect through Tuesday at the University of Rhode Island.

However, the University is working to obtain clear test results before that.

Keeping the advisory in effect is the result of a positive test finding for general coliform received Thursday night from a sample taken at the Biological Sciences Center (BSC). On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the University had received clear test results for the Biological Sciences Center and six other building sites across campus. Read 10/22 Release.

Health Services at URI reports no increase in cases among students of gastrointestinal illnesses. All weekend events at the University will continue as scheduled. The University will continue to offer bottled water and juice boxes at its dining centers, and will maintain its bottled water distribution center outside the Memorial Union through the weekend.

“We know that this has been an anxious and inconvenient period for our students, faculty and staff, and we apologize,” said J. Vernon Wyman, assistant vice president for business services. “We appreciate everyone’s patience with the University and our efforts to remedy this problem. Throughout the process, we have kept our community’s safety and health as the top priorities. Again, thanks to the entire community for its spirit of cooperation.”

Since the original boil water notice was issued by the health department Sunday, Oct. 19, the University was required by regulation to get three consecutive clear tests over three separate days. Throughout the testing, samples analyzed from water lines adjacent to the BSC have remained clear. In fact, the samples taken from other locations in the water system have remained clear since before the first positive test at the BSC last week.

Following the positive test received late Thursday night, the University continued discussions with the state Department of Health about steps it wanted to take to disconnect the BSC from the entire campus system.

This afternoon, the health department and the University agreed that the University should install a reduced pressure zone valve at the Biological Sciences Center. That valve will maintain lower water pressure inside the building than outside in the water service line, which will prevent water from leaving the building and entering the system.

The new valve will allow the University to super-chlorinate the pipes in the building a second time and replace interior pipes while not affecting the rest of the water system.

The first clearance test for the system outside the BSC will be taken tonight and the third will be taken Sunday. If all come back clear, the boil water advisory could be rescinded Monday. At Biological Sciences, even after clearance of the balance of the system, a boil water advisory will remain in effect. Individuals who work in or take classes in the building should be mindful of the continued advisory for that building.