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Classes Canceled At SUNY New Paltz After Town Issues Do-Not-Drink Order Over Water Odor

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Classes are canceled for the rest of the week at SUNY New Paltz after the town issued a warning about the water.

Everyone was told not to drink the water because it could be contaminated.

At SUNY New Paltz, there is a mass exodus of students eager to leave campus, trying to escape the village's mysterious water emergency now entering its second day.

"Super bizarre. Everyone was freaking out. All the water was gone from Tops yesterday. It was wacky," student Alexi Harrington told CBS2's Christina Fan.

"It's very out of the blue, out of nowhere, so it's very shocking," student Caitlin MacCutcheon said.

The university's decision to cancel classes came after the village issued a do-not-drink order on Monday when several residents complained of an unusual odor and taste in their drinking water.

"A smell of gasoline, you know? A strong smell. Sometimes more than others, but there was always that smell," New Paltz resident Joel Alfieri said.

Trucks with water and water bottle stations have been set up around New Paltz, New York, after the town issued a do-not-drink order on Feb. 10, 2020. (Credit: CBS2)

So far, local officials and the Department of Environmental Protection have not been able to pinpoint the cause. But the concern was serious enough for trucks with water and water bottle stations to be set up around town.

"We received confirmation from the County Department of Health that all their staff who are on today are going door-to-door to restaurants to make sure they are aware of the advisory," New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers said.

At one of the village-owned reservoirs the Department of Environmental Conservation has been inspecting, CBS2 crews could detect a faint smell of petroleum in the air. Earlier Tuesday morning, officials say you could see a light sheen on the surface.

"A lot of the feedback that we've gotten is that it smells like fuel, which is why one of the theories is it could be that kind of spill, but there's also iron bacteria that manifests as a kind of fuel smell," New Paltz Deputy Mayor KT Tobin said.

The village says it is awaiting results from several samples sent off for testing. Until they have an answer, officials say they will continue providing water.

SUNY New Paltz says classes will be canceled until Saturday and all students are asked to leave campus. The New Paltz School District, which was closed Tuesday, will reopen for classes on Wednesday.

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