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Water main break hits parts of Ohio State’s South Campus

OSU Facilities Operations and Development utilities workers work to fix a water main break Sept. 6. Credit: Andrew Todd-Smith / Lantern reporter

OSU Facilities Operations and Development utilities workers work to fix a water main break Sept. 6. Credit: Andrew Todd-Smith / Lantern reporter

Two South Campus buildings were without water for about eight hours Friday due to a water main break outside of Pomerene Hall.

The break happened at about 3:15 p.m. Friday, causing flooding on Neil Avenue and rendering some surrounding campus buildings, including Pomerene and Campbell halls, without water services, OSU spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc said in an email.

By 11 p.m., however, the service had been restored to both buildings, she said.

Komlanc said in an email Sunday estimates of the cost of repair are not available yet.

The rupture happened underground near Mirror Lake Creamery & Grill’s patio. Affected buildings lost drinking water, usable restrooms and food service sanitation capabilities, Ross Parkman, director of utilities, said Friday.

Parkman said the first priority was getting the leak shut off so traffic could be restored.

The water supply to residence halls Mack and Oxley was intentionally shut off as an attempt to ensure isolation of the issue, but both buildings had water restored within 15 minutes, Parkman said.

The flow of brief flooding caused dirt and gravel to be strewn partially into the street, leaving a muddy drainage trail along the sidewalk and curb.

A plumber that works for Facilities Operations and Development’s utilities department was walking on Neil Avenue returning to his workshop to conclude his shift when he observed the break happen and immediately reported it.

Engineers and workers consulted plans on scene before sending a team into the tunnels to assess the damage from below.

Maintenance crews worked to get as much work done as possible in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of pedestrians for the OSU football game Saturday, Parkman said.

The Office for Disability Services, located in Pomerene, stayed open until its normal closing time of 5 p.m.

Mirror Lake Creamery & Grill stopped operations for sanitation reasons at about 3:30 p.m. Student employees said the restaurant was not busy, and they finished preparing placed orders for people already inside before turning new customers away and closing early.

Heavy work began at 5:30 p.m. to break up the concrete sidewalk and dig up the soil over the break to further assess the extent of the damage and to get repairs started. A backhoe and dump truck were on scene to scoop away and store rubble and debris.

During Fall Semester 2012, a water main break that occurred under College Road near Drinko and Steeb halls Sept. 16 displaced roughly 2,000 students from Park-Stradley Hall for about three days and Baker East and West halls for the night. Ohio Union was also evacuated for the night. Park-Stradley residents were without drinking water until Sept. 21. The break cost OSU about $3 million, according to The Lantern archives.

There was also a water main break that caused Mack Hall to lose water Oct. 27. Water was restored by the next afternoon.

 

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