The roughly 300 elderly residents of Schervier Nursing Center have lacked running water for their sinks, showers and toilets since the center declared a water emergency due to unknown causes at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 3.
A Schervier spokeswoman said the center at 2975 Independence Ave. has taken adequate steps to hydrate and bathe residents, and that there is no health risk.
But on Monday night, a resident voiced distress at the situation in which dozens are sharing bathrooms and staff members are resorting to microwaving water in order to clean residents.
“How can 40 residents on this side use one toilet? Isn’t that a health situation?” said Donald Bombardier, 73. “We’re like animals here, cave people.”
An announcement posted to Scheriver’s Facebook page and posted within the facility last Friday said low-pressure water was available on the ground floor of the building. In the rest of the five-story building, staff members were using water in buckets to flush two toilets in use on each floor.
The statement also said Schervier has 3,000 gallons of potable water and enough juice to last until Tuesday, and that there were sufficient sanitizing wipes and cleaning chemicals on site.
The cause of the water emergency remained a mystery as of press time. Schervier’s Director of Marketing, Community and Philanthropy Laura Amerman said the facility was going through a process of elimination to determine the source of the problem, which the Jan. 5 statement described as a “low water pressure event.”
Ms. Amerman said that inspections to date determined all of the building’s internal systems were working properly, adding that recent construction work on Independence Avenue might have something to do with the problem.
Ms. Amerman said Scheriver has increased housekeeping staff to make sure bathrooms are being cleaned on a regular basis and that many mangers are working double shifts.