Wheaton students learned firsthand this morning that the effects of Norton’s hydrant flush have finally made their yearly appearance on campus. From deep coffee browns in the toilets to flashes of light amber in the sinks, the momentary browning of the water supply at Wheaton has officially begun in earnest.
“When I go to turn the faucet on and it looks like coffee it’s like, ugh,” said Meadows RA Colin Coco ’17. Coco, having lived through the flush twice in years past now, has developed his own ways of dealing with the discoloration, as most students have. “I don’t brush my teeth [with the water] and I wouldn’t do laundry.”
Coco is right in his assertion that the brown water is “not poop;” according to their website, the town of Norton uses “high velocity water to scour the inside surfaces of the water mains,” and the discoloration that “varies from pale yellow to dark brown and may include particles” comes from an exodus of iron and manganese from the Norton water system. The town of Norton recommends that residents use appliances that require water with care, and that they keep bottled water on hand if necessary.
Not everyone has been able to get the advice in full, however. One morning in and the brown water gripes are already mounting. The anonymous social media platform Yik Yak saw an influx of posts about the hydrant flush. Complaints like “the shower water left this brownish residue on my skin,” and “my bathroom water looks like iced tea” have crept into the forum.
However badly the flush is affecting students personally, they need not fret. The flush is to last only several days, and all a student needs to do to avoid being taken too far aback, in the words of students who have been through it before, is to remember that “it’s just iron, Norton flushes their system [and it’s gross], but it’s not poop.”