When brown water came out of the faucets in Benjamin Ruffin Residence Hall, family and consumer science junior Kianna Porter said the first thing that came to her mind was Flint, Mich.
“Are we next?” Porter wondered, referring to the lead contamination in Flint’s water that caused an ongoing public health crisis that has become a national issue.
Students began to notice a change in Ruffin Hall’s water on Tuesday Feb. 24.
No email was sent out by the Department of Residential Life or the community director of the residence hall to warn residents about the water discoloration.
Social work junior Jazmyne Arnette said she wanted to know what was going on and wondered why students living in Ruffin hadn’t received a notice.
“I spoke to Janae and she said they cut the water off, and to let it run for a few minutes,” said Arnette, referring to Janae McKinney, residential life coordinator of Eagle Landing and Benjamin Ruffin residence halls.
NCCU Director of Facilities Phillip Powell said the Department of Residential Life oversees maintenance of the residence halls.
Director of Residential Life Ronnie Davis said “the maintenance team moved to flush out the backflow unit and resolved the problems within hours” after it was reported on Feb. 26.
“We later learned that the slight change in water color may have been the result of work being done on Lawson Street a few days prior,” said Davis.
In a Feb. 11 news release, Durham’s Department of Water Management said city residents were notified that they “may notice a slight change in the taste and color of their water” during an annual flushing of the city’s water system beginning Feb. 27.
The news release advised residents to let the water run for a few minutes until it is clear.
The news release stated that residents should call 919-560-4344 for questions and concerns.