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Zahm drainage pipes back up

Joe Trombello | Friday, November 14, 2003

Waste backup left Zahm Hall residents without water for nearly four hours Thursday afternoon and evening, said Zahm Hall rector Daniel Parrish.

Parrish said that the water backup occurred once Monday and twice Thursday.

Housekeeping staff reported some backup in the basement around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon, after which they cleaned out the water and reported the problem to building services.

Plumbers then ran a snake through the water cleanout area Thursday afternoon and hit a root ball, causing a water outage, as all the toilets, showers and sinks go through one drain.

Phyllis Campbell, supervisor of building services, said workers were dispatched immediately to pump out the water. Parrish estimated that there was about half an inch of water in the downstairs basement and the food sales area.

Parrish said the cleanout for the waste water line was located in the electrical room, where the water had risen to a height of about four inches. Parrish said that a few inches more of water level rising could have caused an electrical system failure, but fast action by plumbers prevented the problem.

“They worked quick and avoided that problem,” he said.

Parrish said the water was turned on around 9:30 p.m., with all water removed and the food sales area sanitized and open for business.

Students said the incident seemed to have little effect on residents.

“Things are pretty normal,” said Andrew Sherman, Zahm Hall resident assistant. “People are just going to other places to use the bathroom and take showers. It’s no big deal – we haven’t really had any problems with it.”

Parrish said that he was very appreciative of Keenan Hall, which allowed Zahm residents to use their restrooms and showers when water was unavailable at the dorm.

“Keenan was very helpful and calming to us in our time of need,” he said. “We appreciated it very much.”