Water main break


On Monday Jan. 27, a schoolwide email was sent out by Administrator Lindsay Perkins, notifying students that all restrooms in the Roberts building could not be used. The email came in response to a water main break. The break was caused by a rock which crushed a main pipe. The pipe was repaired and water was back on in Roberts by the next day.

The break was discovered at 7:30 a.m. on Monday by Director of Facilities Justin Wolfradt. “Monday morning, I was reviewing invoices for monthly utility bills,” he said, “and came across one of them that was an anomaly from what it should be, triple checked it, and found the meter number and I called the Buildings and Grounds guys and had them check it right away because if it was correct that that bill was what it was then that meant we had a major water leak.”

After Buildings and Grounds found the pipe, they opened the pit to find it was completely flooded. Mr. Wolfradt said they used a sump pump to remove excess water, then called MDC, the water company, to notify them of the water break.

The next step was to call Before You Dig to prevent accidentally hitting underground utility lines. “We looked at the plans, and we had two water main lines coming off of three valves and a natural gas line and electrical utilities all in that area,” Mr. Wolfradt said. “So they came out as well; they marked all the pipes and the electrical and the natural gas.”

A construction company then came to excavate the area in order to find where the water was coming from. “At that point we isolated it, meaning that we turned the valve off and we had to shut down Roberts building for water for the day,” Mr. Wolfradt said. Once a five-and-half feet deep, eight by six hole was dug, the problem was discovered. “It was a four-inch water line that basically got crushed by rock from settling at some point, and we were able to make the repair,” Mr. Wolfradt said. He continued to say that unfortunately a lot of the sidewalk in front of the Nicholson building had been dug up, and will be repaired in the spring.

The Building and Grounds crew worked until 5:30 p.m. when the repair was completed. “After the leak, we had to turn the water back on, flush all the systems in Roberts because sediment usually settles once you turn water off, and we changed filters” Mr. Wolfradt said.

After 14 hours of work, turning the water back on and changing filters, everything was back on track.

Thank you to the Building and Grounds crew for your hard work on campus.