Pipe’s repair shuts off hot water on South Campus

Michelle Ma

Students living in the Sorority Quads and other residential buildings on South Campus were without hot water for almost 12 hours starting Friday night because a ruptured pipe that supplies steam to South Campus buildings was being repaired.

Facilities Management officials scheduled the repair after they noticed steam coming through a manhole cover in the street east of Kresge Hall Thursday at about noon, said Karl Wolff, chief maintenance engineer in Facilities Management. The scheduled hot water shut-off and the repairs were preventative measures to avoid a more disastrous pipe rupture and an unscheduled loss of hot water, Wolff said.

Building managers were notified of the shut-off and were told to inform residents and departments that would be affected, Wolff said. South Campus academic buildings also did not have hot water.

“We have worked with housing and everyone to schedule this at a time that is least disruptive,” Wolff said, adding that a repair, even a scheduled one with notification, is not ideal.

“This is the best we can do to let everyone know,” he said. “We try to avoid scheduled shut-downs like this.”

The Office of Undergraduate Residential Life received an e-mail notification Thursday that explained the planned hot water shut-off, according to Residential Life Director Mary Goldenberg. Residential Life officials then e-mailed all area coordinators who were expected to inform all the residents who would be affected.

Shannon Valley, an International Studies Residential College resident, said there were printouts posted on suite message boards explaining that a piping repair would prevent hot water for most of the night. She said the hot water shut off wasn’t that inconvenient.

“I was wanting to take a shower that night before I went out to work, but it wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Valley, a Weinberg sophomore.

More than five Facilities Management employees and contractors worked from about 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Saturday to replace the ruptured piping. The damaged piping was located in a buried 20 foot by 20 foot vault. Pipes within the vaults receive steam from the Central Utility Plant east of Swift Hall.

Facilities Management officials dedicate Labor Day weekend as a standard time to make numerous repairs around campus, Wolff said. Although it is ideal to save all repairs for that weekend to create the least disturbance, sometimes a repair — including this one — must be made, he said.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]