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South Orange flushes water hydrants, brown water ‘unlikely’ on campus

South Orange is testing its water hydrants throughout this week as part of the Water Utility annual maintenance requirements, but it’s unlikely Seton Hall’s campus will experience issues, according to South Orange Water Utility services.

The Village is running these tests between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20. It is unclear exactly when Seton Hall will be affected during this time. The South Orange Water Utility services were unable to comment. 

South Orange Water Utility services said they “do not expect any issues but there may be occasional brown color or lower pressure.”

On an annual basis, fire hydrants are flushed out. This process is done for a number of reasons, but usually to either test the hydrant’s water pressure or to remove “naturally occurring mineral deposits and sediment in pipes” to maintain “high water quality,” according to Walter Clarke, Village Trustee and chairman of the Public Works and Utilities Committee.

While originally using East Orange Water Commission, South Orange has switched over to American Water and is currently in the process of a series of infrastructure upgrades and maintenance projects. 

Any water discoloration seen “is perfectly normal,” according to Howard Levison, the South Orange Water Utility Administrator. 

American Water tested the water in the area and reported that the quantities of lead and copper present have been in compliance with the standards set forth in the federal Lead and Copper Rule. These standards, according to Federal Regulations, ensure that the lead levels, in less than “10% of tap water samples collected,” are not “greater than 0.015 mg/L,” and that copper levels, in less than “10% of tap water samples collected,” aren’t “greater than 1.3 mg/L.”

Maya Joshi, a sophomore diplomacy major, said she was unaware that the fire hydrant flush is occurring this week. “I didn’t hear anything about it,” Joshi said. 

No information about the flush had been sent to residents via the University’s Instagram account, weekly newsletter, from housing directors or otherwise. 

“I knew about it through the South Orange Instagram,” Gabriella Adornetto, a sophomore education major said. “I’m not really worried since it is a pretty routine thing.”

“I was not aware as a student or an RA,” Olivia Ransbottom, a sophomore political science and theatre major, said. Ransbottom is a Resident Advisor in Aquinas Hall and said she isn’t worried about the testing. “I’m not concerned because this is a routine flushing and will unlikely affect the school in any major way,” she said.

For Seton Hall students living off campus, South Orange has outlined recommendations on what to do if there is any discoloration in the water. 

Cold water should be run from the lowest faucets in the house for a few minutes, which should help move any sediment through the pipes. 

If there is any staining of clothes in the washing machine, rerun the clothes with the addition of a rust remover. 

However, unless water is being used from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. it is unlikely to affect any houses, according to South Orange Water Utility services. Anyone with any issues can contact the South Orange Water Utility customer service at 1-855-722-7072.

Sarah Bond can be reached at

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