[Updated] McNally campus loses water

McNally campus has been without water this weekend, with repairs from Monday expected to fix the problem.


Restrooms on the McNally campus closed Monday due to a cracked water pipe. |Michelle Hong/THE CHIMES

Michelle Hong, Writer

Updated 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 21:

Repairs on the cracked water main are still in progress, after a new contractor was hired this morning to finish the job by the end of Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Brian Phillips, senior director of Operations in Facilities Services said that another contractor was hired for the job after the temporary pipe clamp, which had been successful in the past, failed to hold,.

“The [first] contractor wasn’t equipped to make a repair on that size of pipe so we had to then hire a mechanical type contractor,” said Phillips.

Phillips anticipates that the replacement will be completed by today, and all water outlets will be restored and running.

“Anything could happen but this is a good contractor that we’ve worked with many times before, and I believe they have the ability to get this thing fixed today,” he said.
The first contractor, specializing in locating leaks, was able to find the problem area. However, because the installation of the pipe clamp did not suffice in repairing the pipe, a mechanical contractor began the process of not just repairing the crack but replacing the entire water main pipe.

“We knew that if we could get a pipe clamp on there we could restore service more quickly and schedule a replacement of the entire main at a later date, but unfortunately that pipe clamp didn’t hold,” said Phillips. “So its been a progression, unfortunately.”

Phillips said that he is asking the contractor to look at adjacent piping as well, in order to let him know if the entire piping system or any other pipes need to be replaced immediately or at a later time. In the meantime, Phillips is expecting budgetary figures from the contractors for the possible pipe replacements.

“We’ll start planning for next summer, unless they tell me that this is in really poor condition; then we might schedule something over inter-term,” said Phillips.

South campus restrooms have been closed since Friday Sept. 16, due to a cracked water main that is expected to be temporarily repaired by this afternoon.

The cracked water pipe servicing the McNally campus and the Grove was reported to Facilities Services when an observer saw water bubbling up on the asphalt near the Production Center. This shutdown was not related to the incident that shut off water services on Aug. 31 at the McNally campus. Although it was a similar situation, it was not the same pipe causing trouble.

In the current situation, it was the main pipe that cracked, whereas the shutdown from August was a pipe connected to the main line that had a dime-sized hole that was patched up, according to Brian Phillips, senior director of Operations in Facilities Services.
Plumbing contractors came out this morning to inspect the problem and are in the process of finding a clamp to temporarily mend the main water pipe.

“We‘re hopeful that repairs will be done within an hour so we could get water restored and then we’ll have to schedule a replacement of the water main at a time that wouldn’t have any impact,” Phillips said at 11:31a.m. The repairs are still in process.

The immediate repair will be done by installing a clamp over the crack until a replacement pipe can be found and installed. According to Phillips, water was shut off only in these areas because the McNally campus was purchased by Biola as a junior high school, giving the area its own water service and the Grove was added onto McNally’s water service at a later time.

These temporary fixes are capable of lasting a long time, said Phillips. However, the number of problems arising calls for more permanent damage control.

“We are looking at long-term solutions, which are very costly, but they will be put in our budget,” Phillips said. He anticipates that the long-term repairs will happen either during interterm or summer, when it will impact the campus the least. Until then, Phillips assured that the ad hoc repairs will hold up until they are permanently replaced by new pipes.

Notices were posted on all the restrooms that were in the affected areas, allowing those who had questions to contact facilities.

For those frequenting the McNally campus, the nearest available restrooms and water fountains are located in the Business Building.

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