November 19th, 2008



So There I Was, Minding My Own Business

I don't when exactly the main event actually occurred, but I can say that whilst sitting in the men's room on campus between 9:30 and 10:00 this morning, I heard this click and then a whistle. The click was the automatic valve on the urinal timing into its flush mode. The whistle was air rushing into the plumbing, instead of water coming out. That pretty much told me we'd just lost the water system. No toilet flushes on the tankless toilets. (ew-www)

By the time I came back from my 11am and noon classes, there were signs up saying that (a) water was restored and (b) don't drink the water. Actually, what the one sign said was:

The city of Kalamazoo water supply is considered contaminated because of a watermane break.


I'm assuming this is a sort of cat-based watermane, as opposed to a horse-based watermane. After all, cats would mess with people and our cats sometimes wash their litter toes in their drinking water, cheerfully soiling the water. So I'm down with a cat-based watermane break in Kalamazoo.

I was going to take a picture of the errant sign, but when I went by later, it'd been changed. Oh, a water main. Now I understand. (grin)


Later in the day there was an email from the university saying that bottled water was being delivered to the dorms. Not sure how widespread this all was, but it sounds pretty big. Oh hell, let's look this up

City officials said they do not believe tap water has become contaminated but they issued the boil order as a precaution.

Water should be boiled for 10 minutes before it is used for drinking or food preparation.

Water samples were rushed to a state laboratory for testing. Those results are expected back Wednesday.

In the meantime, the order remains in effect for the area west of Westnedge Avenue, south of West Main Street, north of Interstate 94 and east of U.S. 131.

The area includes the campuses of Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College.

"We're telling them it's OK to wash hands and for laundry but not to consume (the water) until we've been able to confirm that it's absolutely safe," WMU spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said.

Campus workers were posting warning signs near water fountains and placing bags over them.

The city of Kalamazoo provided 12,000 servings of bottled water to WMU.

Roland said bottled water would be available in dorms, at the Sindecuse Health Center, the Bernhard Center and in dining-services facilities.

Employees in the dining facilities will be using boiled water for food preparation until the advisory is lifted.

Hmmm... the article says the pressure drop was noticed at 9:30am. Sounds about right. Not sure about the lack of contamination, but we had brown water in the sinks and toilet bowls, so you take a guess as to contamination.

I stopped at a BK on the way out of town on W. Main to grab a Coke, and they (a) had a sign up saying they couldn't do (soda) pop today and (b) at the window, they had 2 litre bottles lined up and had gotten bagged ice from somewhere, possibly their freezer, and were pouring it on.

I haven't drunk K-zoo or WMU water in fifteen years -- it always smells like it was filtered through pencil sharpener shavings.

Dr. Phil
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