Water Quality

Rowan Testing Quality of Its Water

Rowan to begin water testing in residence halls/apartments Dec. 23

(Update: Dec. 16) The University has finished testing for the presence of lead in its water in all of the academic buildings across the Glassboro campus. Our next step is to map all the pipes and test the water in residence halls/apartments, and a few remaining buildings on campus.

Below is the schedule for these two efforts. The Housing Office will email residential students more details about the exact time testing will take place at each location and how it will impact them over the next two weeks.

Building Date
Chamberlain Student Center 12/23/16
Esby Gym 12/23/16
Team House 12/23/16
Triad Hall 12/28/16
Edgewood Park Apartments 12/29/16
Holly Pointe Commons 12/30/16
International House 12/30/16
Magnolia Hall 12/30/16
Mimosa Hall 1/3/2017
Chestnut Hall 1/3/2017
Townhouses Center 1/3/2017
Evergreen Hall 1/4/2017
Oak Hall 1/4/2017
Townhouses 1/4/2017
Willow Hall 1/5/2017
Laurel Hall 1/5/2017
Mullica Hall 1/5/2017

Contact Us

For those who have questions: call us at 856-256-5200 or email officeofthepresident@rowan.edu. Thank you for your patience as we work through this issue.

Rowan to begin comprehensive water quality testing Oct. 31

(Update: Oct. 25) Thank you for your patience with the University as we work to improve the water quality on the Glassboro campus. In early September, we reported to the University community that there were varying levels of lead found in the water in some of our buildings. Since then, we held open forums, sent several updates and have worked with experts to address the issue.

With this update, we are pleased to announce that we have installed additional filtered water-bottle filling stations/fountains (now there are 30) and retrofitted 27 standard water fountains with filters.  Also, our comprehensive study of the campus’ plumbing infrastructure and its water will begin during the next several weeks.

Testing Schedule & Protocols

As explained in previous updates, the University has been working closely with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and private water-quality consultants to develop a comprehensive testing plan. The plumbing study and water testing will help experts find sources of lead and guide the University on developing a plan to address affected buildings.  

Buildings need to be vacant for at least eight hours for testing to occur, which makes drawing samples in academic and administrative buildings much easier than testing the water in residence halls and apartments. 

Testing in academic and administrative buildings will occur between Oct. 31 and Nov. 15—see schedule. Residential buildings will be tested the first week of January. 

Students who stay on campus during the winter break will be asked to find alternate housing on the day when their residences are tested—an exact schedule will be emailed to residential students before the end of the semester. The Housing Department will assist students who do not have alternative living options for the day that testing will occur.

Water samples will be collected using N.J. Department of Environmental Protection protocols. All the water will be flushed from the building. New water occupying the pipes will stand for a minimum of eight hours. Two samples will then be drawn: one immediately as the faucet/outlet is opened and the second after the water has run for 30 seconds. A more detailed explanation of the testing plan is available at rowan.edu/home/water-quality/comprehensive-tests.

Past Test Results

The Sept. 9 update to the University community explained that the University took “grab samples” from every building on the Glassboro campus as a way of determining the scope of the situation. The vast majority of results from those tests indicated the lead level in the water in these buildings is well below the EPA Action Level of 15 ppb, and in many instances no lead was detected—see building results and map

Out of an abundance of caution and although the majority of grab results fell well below the EPA’s Action Level, we will continue to provide filtered water in all residence halls and apartments. 

Because lead is not absorbed through the skin, however, showering, washing hands, washing clothing and cleaning kitchen utensils are safe even if there are elevated levels of lead in the water. 

Contact Us

For those who have questions: call us at 856-256-5200 or email officeofthepresident@rowan.edu. Thank you for your patience as we work through this issue.



Rowan adds more filtered water-bottle filling stations across campus

(Updated 9-22-2016) As part of our effort to improve the water quality on Rowan’s Glassboro Campus, the University has installed additional filtered fountain/water-bottle filling stations, bringing the total to 27 with three more to be installed by the end of the fall semester—see list of locations and installation dates (UPDATED 9-22-16). There now is at least one filling station in each academic building. 

These stations have ANSI/NSF-approved filters that capture lead that may exist in the water. They also feature an electronic monitoring system that clearly shows users whether the filter is operating (a green light), close to needing to be changed (a yellow light) or needing to be changed (a red light). When the light is red, the fountain will disable itself until a new filter is installed.  

Water test results released Sept. 9 indicate that the great majority of water recently sampled throughout the main campus has no lead or contains lead levels well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s 15ppb Action Level. The University has installed these stations out of an abundance of caution. 

The University continues to work with a private water-testing firm to develop a plan for comprehensive testing across campus. We anticipate that testing will start in all of the academic and administrative buildings in October. Residence halls will be scheduled at times least disruptive for residents.

For more information, visit rowan.edu/waterquality, call the Water Quality Information Line at 856-256-5200 or email officeofthepresident@rowan.edu.


A Letter from President Ali A. Houshmand, Ph.D. - Sept. 9, 2016
Good news on water-quality tests

I am happy to report that recent tests of additional buildings across campus have provided us with some encouraging results.

As I wrote to you last week, in August we retained a water-quality testing firm to conduct water tests in Linden Hall, Bole Annex, the Carriage House, Oak Hall and Laurel Hall. The tests indicated that some faucets showed elevated levels of lead that were above the 15 parts per billion threshold that is the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection’s “Action Level.” We also tested Memorial Hall, which is adjacent to these buildings but on a different water line. Memorial’s lead levels fell under the EPA’s 15ppb threshold.

Starting on Aug. 31, we sampled water in all other buildings on our Glassboro campus. The vast majority of results from those tests indicated the lead level in the water in these buildings is well below the EPA Action Level, and in many instances no lead was detected. (Elevated levels were found in some kitchen faucets in the ROTC building, Evergreen Hall and Girard House.)

These preliminary tests were “grab” samples of at least one faucet/water outlet in each building. Although they do not meet standard protocols for water testing, grab samples simulate the habits of people getting a drink from a fountain or faucet (not running the water before drinking it) and provide some immediate insight into water status in particular locations.

On our Water Quality website, you will see a map that provides a view of test results for each building. Those highlighted in green fall below the threshold, and those in yellow are above the threshold. Those that are striped green and yellow indicate results varied from faucet to faucet. Easy-to-read spreadsheets and technical lab results also are available at rowan.edu/waterquality/test-results.

While the latest results are promising, they provide only the broadest view of the quality of water in our buildings. We are working with the water-quality testing firm to develop and implement a comprehensive study of campus.

Out of an abundance of caution and although the majority of grab results fall well below the EPA’s Action Level, we will continue to provide filtered water in all academic and administration buildings and will ensure the availability of filtered or bottled water for all residence halls until all tests are finalized. We also will continue to install filtered water bottle filling stations and retrofit many existing water fountains with filters throughout campus.

I know the last week has been disconcerting and a great inconvenience. Thank you for your patience as we work to ensure the safety of our water supply. We will provide you with more details as they become available.

For more information, please attend a campus-wide informational meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Mimosa Hall first-floor lounge. You also may visit the website rowan.edu/waterquality, call the information line at 856-256-5200 or write to us at officeofthepresident@rowan.edu.

Yours truly,

Ali A. Houshmand, Ph.D.