No, no, no. The water isn't simply rusty or tinted. It is vile and dangerous. The hotel warned not to let the water touch one's face.
Here's a link from HuffPo which is virtually the NPR of the internet (which you cited earlier): http://www.huffingto..._n_4731219.html
Let's recostruct the sequence of events according to Ms StClair.
1. Water was turned off during he night in her hotel room. She doesn't mention anything about water quality at this point, so it must have been OK before.
2. She calls down to the desk and someone says to her that the water will be turned on, but not to put her face to it because water containes "something dangerous".
3. Water is turned back on but comes out yellow.
If one is to believe the hotel clerk's assertion, sometime during the night, perfectly good water turned dangerous.
OK, so what might have happened, realistically?
Version 1. Pipes were repaired and some dirt/rust got in them, Will flush in a few minutes and is not dangerous.
Version 2. Pipes broke and raw sewage got in them. That is unsanitary, but chlorinated or fluoride treated water will remove the contamination in a matter of an hour or two, prompting the clerk to warn the guest, in his probably imperfect English, to not put her face in water. He probably meant for an hour or two, but didn't convey his meaning well. BTW, why "touch face to water" is not safe, but washing hands is apparently OK?
Version 3. Some kind of industrial accident contaminated the water beyond the water treatment system's capacity, making water permanently unsafe. If that were the case, don't you think we'd see more about that than 1 reporter's complaint? I tried to find other accounts of unsafe/dirty water in Sochi and failed. All I see in all reports are the same 2 glasses of yellowish water on the same table.
From the 3 possibilities, I'd think 1 or at worst 2 as likely, and the 3rd as totally improbable..
Edited by sibiriak, 06 February 2014 - 08:17 PM.