University advises students to boil drinking and cooking water after main break

Parts of Northwest D.C. are affected, D.C. Water says

University advises students to boil drinking and cooking water after main break

Water bottles being handed out at the Hatching Leonard Hall in response to the water main break across Northwest DC

The University advised all members of the AU community to boil drinking and cooking water after a water main break in northern Virginia on Friday morning resulted in loss of water pressure across part of Northwest D.C., including AU’s campus. 

Affected areas of the University include main campus, Washington College of Law, Spring Valley and “all other AU offices,” the University said in an email to students. The Washington Post reported that D.C. officials say the boiling-water advisory is expected to remain in place until at least Sunday. 

Early Friday morning, D.C.’s Water and Sewer Authority reported a serious water main break in Arlington, Virginia, causing much of Northwest D.C. to experience low water pressure. An interactive map shows the affected areas. Students living off-campus should refer to the map in order to determine if they are affected.


The drop in pressure briefly affected the University. Just after 6 a.m., David Osborne, Director of Energy and Engineering Energy Management, sent an email to the AU community reporting that the University’s water pressure had returned to normal. 

In the email, University Security and Safety Services said they were issuing an advisory “out of an abundance of caution” and advised the AU community to follow D.C. Water’s directions, which recommended people in all areas affected by the pressure drop to immediately begin boiling their water. According to D.C. Water, although there was no certainty that the water was contaminated when they issued the boil notice, the advisory was made as a precaution while they test the water. D.C. Water has also released an FAQ related to the water boil advisory.

“We encourage all members of the AU community in the affected areas to follow the precautionary guidance offered and boil water used to drink, brush your teeth or prepare meals,” the University statement read. “When boiling, bring water to a rolling boil for one minute, then allow to cool. Avoid using drinking fountains.”

All University dining options will follow D.C. Water guidelines, the statement added. Bottled water will be provided on campus at the Perch in Centennial Hall, the Hatch in Leonard Hall, the Nebraska Front Desk and the Federal Lobby on Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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