News, University News

Facilities to replace rusty hot water tanks in Wriston dorms

Students reported concerns to Residential Life, repairs to cost tens of thousands of dollars

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Department of Facilities Management has started a project to replace hot water tanks in dorms on Wriston Quad that have been emitting water discolored by rust.

Facilities began working to address issues with the hot water tanks after plumbers “noticed the discolored water” while performing routine maintenance after winter break, said Anthony Casello, director of design and construction at Facilities.

During and after winter break, the University’s Environmental Health and Safety Office also tested the water for any health risks at the request of Facilities, Casello said. The EHS Office did not respond to request for comment on the test’s results.

Two tanks in Marcy House, which Facilities determined needed the most immediate attention, were replaced over spring break. “We replaced the ones in Marcy because those tanks were of the older vintage, but were also having some visible signs of wear and tear on the outside too,” Casello said. Facilities also replaced the tanks in Marcy first because they could access that tank size quickly, Casello wrote in a follow-up email to The Herald.

For other affected dorms on Wriston, “Facilities is looking at pricing it right now and looking at what it would take to actually replace the tanks,” Casello said. Facilities has not set a timeline for those replacements.

In total, Casello estimated that the project will cost tens of thousands of dollars, though he did not disclose an exact amount.

The water has been discolored  since at least the beginning of the fall semester, according to students living on Wriston this year. “ResLife had gotten some traffic” about the water quality, Casello said.

Jason Carroll ’21, who lives in Marcy, first noticed problems with the water in his dorm when he moved in at the beginning of this academic year. Four dorms he subsequently visited seemed to suffer from the same issue.

To address concerns about the water, Carroll contacted Facilities two times, but he noticed no change in the water quality. Carroll addressed the problem in his successful campaign for vice president of the Undergraduate Council of Students last month.

“Brown students deserve to have water in the dorms that they are comfortable drinking — that’s clean and isn’t filled with sediment,” Carroll said. Though this improvement “may be expensive,” Carroll noted that the University pursues many large-scale projects. “I would love to see Brown put that money into a renovation specifically on Wriston and dorms and other academic buildings that need that work.”

Ryan Rose ’21, a resident of South Wayland House, said he first noticed the rusty water in October. In one instance, Rose said a faucet broke off one of the sinks, and it began to stream water of an even darker color. After Facilities addressed the broken faucet and the water pressure returned to normal, the color returned to a light brown shade, he said.

Overall, Carroll is “glad that Facilities is working on the issue” and hopes that “this can be the first of many long-term steps on student housing,” he said.