Severe flooding causes bathroom closures

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On Sept. 11, a bathroom on the first floor of Kiely Hall flooded, creating a large puddle of water in the hallway in front of the bathroom. The flooding prompted the closing of bathrooms on the first and second floor, rooms 114, 116, 214 and 216, for the following week.

The water blocked access to at least one classroom, forcing people to walk through it or find another way to their destinations.

An e-mail sent to students from Denese Gordon, Interim Administrator of Campus Plant Operations, said “The restroom on the first floor of Kiely Hall (114) clogged today, creating the potential for flooding in the area. Our plumbers and custodial staff are on site to secure the water and clean up.” The e-mail also listed alternate bathrooms, 330, 332, 430 and 432, that could be used until the repairs were completed.

While the water was being cleaned up, access to rooms 115 and 119A was blocked, prompting a BALA 100 class that was supposed to meet in Room 115 to move to another classroom further down the hallway.

The restrooms were closed due to a blockage in the lavatory waste line, which caused flooding in restrooms on the first floor. The second floor restrooms were closed to prevent waste and water from that floor from travelling to the restrooms on the first floor, according to a statement by Gordon, which was obtained by Maria Matteo, Assistant Director of News Services, Office of Communications.

Additionally, the lines were cleared by plumbers “on multiple occasions” over a 10-day period, from Sept. 10 – Sept. 19, but “the blockage kept recurring.” After multiple attempts by the plumbers to clear the lines, the plumbing service contractor was called.

“With their camera equipment, they saw that the blockage was being caused by what appeared to be a deodorant bottle. They were able to clear it with their equipment,” said the statement.

The statement further said that while “blockages do not occur that frequently,” when they do occur, they “are almost always caused by inappropriate items being flushed down the toilet by users,” such as the deodorant bottle that was found to have caused the most recent blockage.

An additional statement obtained by Matteo said that although the waste system is original to the building, such systems have a lifespan of 100-plus years, and that “blockages are not an indication of issues with the piping, but of improper use. The systems on campus are regularly maintained and deemed fit for use.”

When asked how often the system is checked, the reply was, “Blockages are handled as they arise–by nature they are unexpected; we couldn’t respond to something before it occurs.”

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