GLASSBORO — Rowan University is taking steps to address high levels of lead found in the water tested at nine residential facilities on campus.
The nine affected buildings are Chestnut, Evergreen, Magnolia, Mimosa, Mullica, Triad and Willow halls; Edgewood Park Apartments; and the Townhouse Complex.
All other campus buildings tested below the federal threshold.
During spring break, March 12-18, the university will install faucet-mounted filters in every residence hall and apartment complex except for Holly Pointe Commons, Whitney Center and the Rowan Boulevard Apartments, since they were built recently and are not affected.
All residential students will have access to a filtered faucet in their immediate living areas, such as restrooms and kitchen sinks. The filter units Rowan will use, according to the manufacturers, capture 99 percent of all lead and last for about 100 gallons before needing to be changed. Who monitors and changes the filters will vary by location, depending on whether the faucets are in private or common areas. Instructions will be distributed once filters are in place.
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The university also will install 31 more filtered water-bottle filling/drinking stations across campus, adding to the 49 stations installed in the fall.
Bottled water will continue to be provided to residential students until the filters are installed. The university will continue to analyze the results and develop long-term solutions such as installing whole-building or inline filters or replacing water mains.
The university has allocated $2 million to address the lead issue this year, including testing and remediation. Spokesman Joe Cardona said they have spent about $250,000 so far on testing, filters and bottled water.
“Needless to say, we were surprised to learn that there was lead in our water. Since learning of that, we have been diligent about addressing this situation, and we have made great strides in improving the situation,” President Ali Houshmand said in a statement issued by the university. “Although the solutions will address our current situation, it will take a few more months to determine the source of lead in each building.”
Rowan expanded testing following preliminary tests last semester that indicated lead was present in water in several areas on campus. Bottled water has been provided to affected students since the fall.
An independent water-quality firm sampled water from 43 buildings from November through January. The firm found the nine buildings that tested positive for lead above 15 parts per billion, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s level at which action must be taken.
Stockton University officials said Thursday they have also tested for lead and are in compliance.