With lead testing complete, Rowan admin plan next steps in purifying water

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After a full semester of analyzing the water quality of every building on campus, Rowan University has finished its final rounds of testing, according to Vice President of University Relations Joe Cardona. Now, Rowan officials are planning their next move in order to remove all traces of lead from the schools water supply.

Comprehensive testing of the lead-contaminated water was completed during winter break while several buildings, including student residence halls and freshman dorms, were vacant. This allowed workers to flush all water from each building and let it stand for a minimum of eight hours. Then they were able to take samples from the system, according to the Rowan Water Quality website.

The last tests were conducted on Jan. 5 in Willow, Laurel and Mullica Halls.

“All the tests are complete, we’re just right now in the process of taking a look at them and putting them together in a way that the university community can understand it,” Cardona said.

Senior Vice President of Facilities, Planning and Operations Donald Moore, said the University will not announce a definitive next step for cleaning the water until the collected data has been double checked and analyzed.

Rowan’s Board of Trustees approved a $2 million budget on Dec. 12 for what is known as the Enhancement of the Water Infrastructure Project. This project will ensure improvements to reduce the presence of lead, confirmed during the Board of Trustees meeting. Improvements may include replacement of pipes and installation of filtration devices to correct the lead contamination, as stated in the board’s hours log.

Moore said that the prepared information on the water testing would be ready to share by the beginning of February.

Pennoni Engineering, an independent testing firm, has been in contact with Rowan throughout every step of testing, as well as the university’s insurance provider, Moore said in a phone interview.

“Our insurance carrier has been notified every step of the way, all of the cost,” Moore said.

Cardona added that cases of bottled water would still be provided to students in affected dorms.

Additional reporting by Justin Decker.

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