The water supply at the Maths and Philosophy faculties has been cut off this week in an alleged E. coli scare.
Following a routine safety check, higher-thanusual levels of E. coli bacteria were found in the water in the Mathematical Institute and the Radcliffe Humanities buildings. Staff and students have been unable to wash their hands or drink the water in the buildings since the discovery was made.
E. coli bacteria are found in human and animal faeces, and are one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea. It is also a common source of food poisoning.
An anonymous employee at the Maths Institute told The Oxford Times, “We came in this morning and they’ve all been warning employees that there might be E. coli in the water and it isn’t safe to drink.
“Everyone here is really grumbling.”
They added that bottles of water and hand sanitiser were being distributed in the common room.
A University spokesperson said in a statement, “We routinely test the water in our buildings and a recent set of results showed higher bacteria levels than normal in the Mathematical Institute and Radcliffe Humanities buildings.
“We immediately sought expert advice and, as a precaution, have provided bottled water for people working in the buildings.
“All the staff have been advised not to drink tap water while we take measures to resolve the matter. We are continuing to test the water and will notify staff as soon as the situation is resolved.”
The University water supply is managed privately, rather than by Thames Water.
Speaking to Cherwell, a third-year Philosophy student commented, “You might say that an E. coli outbreak is a shitty situation.
“That said, everyone here’s being quite philosophical about the whole thing.”