The Newburgh Water Crisis

By: Charlie Sloves

The basic elements needed to survive are air, food, water and shelter. On Sept. 11, Matthew Byrne sent out an email to the Mount Saint Mary College community, stating, “Please be advised that the City of Newburgh Water Department has reported a water main break occurred at the corner on Liberty Street and Elmwood Place early this afternoon. This has resulted in the temporary loss of water at 35 Elmwood and 45 Elmwood. Central Hudson’s contractor, Precision Pipeline, was reportedly working on installing a new gas main when it hit one of the City of Newburgh 12-inch water mains.”

The Mount issued a “Boiled water notice” for all drinking water on campus. That morning, my friends and I were ready to start our day in Henry’s by buying a nice large cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee, but little did we know that we were going to have to go throughout the day stumbling to class and sitting through our lectures half asleep for the next five days afterwards. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, my friends and I decided to attend lunch at the View when we were faced with a shocking surprise. As we swiped into the View to devour our lunches, we were asked by Eric, a supervisor at the dining hall, if we wanted a bottle of Dasani water to go with our meal. This was out of the ordinary, because usually while swiping in you are never asked that question.

We came to the realization that all of our drink options were taken away. There was no soda, no juice, no Gatorade and most importantly there was no coffee. For the rest of the week, we were handed bottles of water, but for breakfast we had the privilege to choose between a bottle of water or orange juice.

I asked Jen Masessa, a junior here at the Mount to comment on this “Boiled water notice” and she replied with, “I just don’t understand why it took the city of Newburgh so long to fix this issue. This has never happened before and it’s sad that I was unable to drink what I wanted to drink with my meals throughout this week when I am paying so much money for a meal plan as it is.”

Thankfully the water notice has been lifted and Mount students can now enjoy a beverage other than bottled water with their meals.