Sunday, September 18, 2011

#20: Boil Orders

Freshmen, typically coming from carefully manicured suburban towns, are introduced to the boil order upon arriving in Athens. Boil orders are issued when there are broken water lines or pumping difficulties, and are relatively frequent in Athens neighborhoods. They are issued when there is a risk of E coli and fecal coliform bacteria having leaked into the clean water supply, which would cause gastro-intestinal problems if consumed.

For the past few years, boil orders have been issued unfortunately on peak weekends, like Halloween and Numberfest, when thousands of partiers flood the little city. Thousands of seriously dehydrated and utterly groggy people wake up in need of lubrication for their creaky gears and are screwed when they get to the water fountains in their dorms and see the RA’s handwriting on a note: "Boil Order."

Now, imagine waking up with the consequences of 15 beers over seven hours of partying the day before slowly churning in your bloodstream. For some unsuspecting and hungover newbies, they’ll be desperate enough to ignore the sign and hydrate accordingly, leaving immediately satisfied but realizing later in an explosive way that the mixture of 15 beers and contaminated drinking water is not something to take lightly. They learn the hard way not to ignore boil orders.

Drunk, or Athens?

Drunk:  with the boil orders suspiciously being issued constantly on especially gigantic weekends, it is possible that the water treatment workers throw up their hands overwhelmed with the population tripled, and join the rest of the 20,000 who pad the brick streets for a drink or 19.

But, Athens’ infrastructure is notoriously poor: potholes and boil orders are a result of the lack of tax dollars Athens needs to support its student residents who overflow its resources on a cyclical basis. A lack of structural necessities like constantly clean water is just one of those Athens things. 


Show Athens some love.

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