BY MAX PEEBLES
Photo courtesy of Bruce Boyer
Stonehill is footing the bill for repairs for the water main break on December 4, which shut down running water throughout the majority of campus.
Insurance will not cover the costs, said Bruce Boyer, director of facilities management.
Boyer said the final cost was just under $17,000, but since the college is self-insured for any damages under $25,000, money for the repairs will come from the Department of Facilities Management’s operating budget, used for repairs and maintenance.
There was also another water incident which occurred over winter break, when a frozen pipe in Boland Hall burst, flooding parts of the building. This was unrelated to the water main break on Dec. 4 and cost around $4,000 to repair, Boyer said.
Boyer said that a water main is part of a water system which connects multiple water lines. The break occurred in-between Boland and the Pilgrim Heights, at the point of junction where the water main meets a line that runs from the Roche Dining Commons all the way down towards New Hall. This resulted in a loss of water in Boland, the Heights, the Commons, Villa Theresa, Notre Dame du Lac, Corr Hall, and New Hall. Various academic buildings were also affected, including, Duffy Academic Center, Merkert-Tracy, and Alumni Hall. The point of the break was just past the junction with another line which supplies water to the south side of campus, leaving O’Hara Hall and Village unscathed. According to Boyer, the water main break was probably the cause of old pipes on campus, most of which are around 40 years old.
Water was fully restored throughout campus after 14 to 18 hours of work and repairs. Repairs were complicated by a gas line which lies above the water main, forcing repair crews to dig under the line.
“We were fortunate, in 14 to 18 hours we were up and running again. There was a water main break in Boston recently where people were without water for 48 hours. Anything can happen,” Boyer said.
Could another water main break happen? Boyer said that it is difficult to predict. “I hope not. This is one thing I just can’t predict. Most of the pipes are probably 40 years old,” Boyer said. “To replace the entire system would be cost prohibitive. We replace sections when we are doing major construction such as the new Academic and Welcome Center. Part of that system is being replaced as part of the project.”
Sophomore Anna Leatherwood, a resident of Boland Hall, was forced to shower on the other side of campus. “I had to shower on the other side of campus and then had to walk back to Boland with wet hair in the cold,” Leatherwood said. “It was really annoying, we couldn’t even brush our teeth. I had a really busy day and it created a lot of problems.”
Sophomore Cassie Monteiro, also a resident of Boland, had a similar experience to that of Leatherwood. “My roommate and I ended up going to brush our teeth in the Science Center since we had no water in Boland and had to walk all the way across campus if we had to use the bathroom or shower. It was definitely an inconvenience but I’m glad they got it under control in a timely manner,” Monteiro said.
Residents also stocked up on bottled water, as it was unclear when drinking water would be restored. “We weren’t sure when the water was going to be turned back on so I had to stock up on water bottles to make sure I had water just incase it didn’t come on for a while,” Monteiro said.Water main