Guthridge lacked hot water, consistent water pressure after summer renovations

Media Credit: Sabrina Godin | Photographer

Officials said summer renovations to Guthridge Hall resulted in poor water pressure and fluctuating water temperatures.

Guthridge Hall residents lacked consistent hot water and water pressure this semester until last week, residents said.

Officials said problems with water pressure and stable temperatures have been occurring since the start of September because of issues related to the building’s exterior pipes. More than 20 Guthridge residents said the issues forced them to shower in the middle of the day – when temperatures and pressure was more reliable – or use friends’ residence halls to shower.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the building’s water problems resulted from an issue with D.C. Water after Guthridge underwent renovations this summer. She said the problems “varied” based on water demand and location in the residence hall.

“The University first became aware of these issues in early September and believed they were related to this summer’s upgrades to the building’s bathrooms, including replacement of outdated shower fixtures,” she said in an email.

Officials discovered last month that the building’s exterior pipes were malfunctioning and that D.C. Water’s pipes had cut the hall’s water pressure by nearly half, Nosal said.

“It appears at this time that D.C. Water’s repair of its infrastructure has resolved this issue, but the University continues to monitor the building actively and encourages any resident experiencing water issues in the building to file a FixIt, as this is the most effective way to determine if additional repairs are needed,” she said.

Nosal added that the University “appreciates the patience and cooperation” of Guthridge residents while officials worked out the problem.

Students received an email from the University advising them to shower at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center, about a two-block walk from Guthridge, while contractors fixed the issues.

“Contractors and GW staff are actively working to resolve this issue immediately,” an email sent to Guthridge residents Friday obtained by The Hatchet states. “In the meantime, if you have low water pressure or hot water issues, you have access to the Lerner Health & Wellness Center during normal business hours.”

In interviews, 23 Guthridge students said they lacked hot water throughout the first part of the semester, prohibiting them from showering at regular hours or forcing them to wait about 10 minutes for the water to heat up.

Ellen Richards, a fourth-floor resident, said housing officials notified Guthridge students of the hot water problems last month but didn’t fully address the issues until last week.

“I talked to my dad on the phone the other day and just mentioned it like, ‘Oh we don’t have hot water,’ and he got super pissed and said he was going to call the school and all that, because, you know, its not cheap,” Richards said.

She said officials took too long to address the outage, which meant she and her roommate had to take cold showers for the first couple months of the semester.

“It’s really unfair that it took this long and it feels like you’re being neglected for a long time,” Richards said. “It feels like they don’t care at all, and it’s annoying they suddenly fix it and it’s totally fine and it could have been fixed that easily a long time ago.”

Jake McMahon, a seventh-floor resident, said he was upset that GW Housing took more than a month to fully resolve the temperature and pressure issues and asked GW Housing for a partial refund on his housing costs.

He said lacking hot water was inconvenient when he would come home and need to shower but had to wait until the water heated up or use a friend’s shower.

“I feel like they could have fixed it way faster than they did because the whole floor was affected by it for more than a month,” he said.

Seraphina DiSalvo, a seventh-floor resident, said her room didn’t have hot water for six weeks, which added time to her morning routine because she had to wait about 10 minutes for the water in her shower to heat up.

“It was frustrating because I get up pretty early in the morning on Mondays and Wednesdays for my 8 a.m. classes and I would have to wait five or 10 minutes for the water to heat up,” DiSalvo said.

She said she continued to experience inconsistent hot water levels even after GW Housing sent out several emails telling students the water issues had been resolved earlier this month.

Josh Grafil, a sixth-floor resident, said he and his roommates started having water pressure problems when officials sent the first email to residents notifying them that the problem was fixed.

“I wish they actually made sure everything was fixed before sending the email,” Grafil said.

Kateryna Stepanenko contributed reporting.

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