By Sasha Allen, Sam Gauntt, Natalie Weger and Katharine Wilson
University of Maryland students in the North Hill area of campus are still facing a water outage after a water main break on Monday morning left multiple campus buildings without water supply.
At least 26 dorms and all South Campus Commons apartments, along with 21 university buildings, including Van Munching Hall and McKeldin Library, lost water supply Monday morning.
The water outages stemmed from a “major” water main break near Preinkert Drive, according to this university’s Residential Facilities department. Residential Facilities said that there is no timetable for restoring the water supply, and an email update said repairs were continuing as of 3 p.m. Monday.
Residential Facilities is encouraging students to avoid using showers, toilets, sinks or laundry facilities until further notice.
A Monday afternoon email update from Residential Facilities said students in North Hill residence halls can access Johnson-Whittle and Pyon-Chen halls for bathroom and shower facilities. Access to those buildings will remain on North Hill residents’ university ID cards until repairs are completed, the email said.
Students in the North Hill area, which includes Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, St. Mary’s and other dorms, are also being redirected to Stamp Student Union as an alternate restroom location and to Ritchie Coliseum and Eppley Recreation Center as alternate shower locations, according to Residential Facilities.
Ezra Gashaw, a freshman computer science major, said he didn’t have water in his dorm in Prince Frederick Hall when he woke up this morning.
Gashaw had to use two water bottles from his room to brush his teeth and wash his face, he said.
“I hope they get this stuff fixed, man,” Gashaw said. “I need to take a shower today.”
All students, including those without a meal plan, can fill up water bottles in dining halls, the email update said. Residential Facilities also said in the email that students can access bottled water at the service desks in Queen Anne’s and Prince Frederick halls.
The South Campus Dining Hall is still open, according to Residential Facilities.
Classes will not be physically held in all affected academic buildings and faculty and staff who work in affected university buildings were advised to work from home for the day.
Cassidy Eyres, a sophomore English major, said one of their classes was canceled and the other one was moved online. Eyres lives in Queen Anne’s Hall, one of the affected dorms.
“I guess I’m just kind of confused, like what happened?” Eyres said. “There’s a ton of construction going on around campus, so if they accidentally hit a pipe or something that’s just so dumb. The construction is already bad enough.”
Junior marketing major Nevan West said he had an exam moved online because of the outages.
“I commute so it was like a 30 minute drive, and I really wished that she would have just been like, ‘It’s online’ before I came here,” West said. “So now I’m kind of stuck here, and I could have just stayed at home and did it.”
West said he was not prepared for the exam to be moved online and does not know where to go to take it.
The University Health Center is also closed due to the water main break and announced on X, formerly Twitter, that it is rescheduling some appointments and moving others to telemedicine.
Junior elementary education major Emma Roldan said she saw the water main break while walking to her class.
“I noticed that there were wood pallets where you had to step along a crosswalk, because that’s how high the water was,” Roldan said. “I know somebody in Prince Frederick that uses a wheelchair, and so my immediate thought was, this is not going to be possible for them.”
The email update said that the University of Maryland Police Department will conduct additional patrols in the North Hill area until the outage is resolved.
Staff from the resident life department will conduct fire watch inspections in North Hill residence halls because sprinklers are not operating during the outage, the email said.
Some students called on this university to put preventive measures in place.
Sophomore information science major Sesen Yacob said the break could affect students who have to walk through the water spilling down the street. She added that the university should put its funds towards avoiding future water issues.
“The school has a lot of money and they put their funds into everything else so why does it come down to a point where rooms don’t have no water in them?” Yacob said. “You can’t even wash your hands properly so now hygiene is being affected. Why is this happening?”
Sophomore communication major Cierra Jackson, who lives in Caroline Hall, said was unable to shower this morning due to the outage. She said that the university should put its funds towards “the students that go here.”
“There’s just always something going on at UMD,” Jackson said. “When I woke up and I couldn’t take a shower, that was just the icing on the cake.”
Others, like senior public health and Spanish double major Roman Kassaraba, said today’s events did not come as a surprise. Kassaraba lives in a South Campus Commons apartment that was impacted by the outages.
“Every year I feel like I’ve had an issue with some sort of water crisis on campus,” Kassaraba said. “It’s really not surprising, but it’s really disappointing”.
This story has been updated.