Water Damage At UVM

In early January, while the majority of UVM faculty, staff, and students were away for winter break, three pipes burst on campus, causing flooding and thousands of dollars in damage. The flooding was due to the frigid temperatures in January.

On friday, January 9th, two pipes located in Old Mill and Living and Learning Building E burst unexpectedly. One week later, on January 16th, another pipe split in Harris Residence Hall.

According to the University Communication Director, Enrique Correddera, the pipe in Old Mill exploded on the fifth floor on the north side of the building.

The pipe was connected to part of the sprinkler system, therefore carrying a high pressure of water throughout the building. Once the pipe burst, a heavy flow of water poured through the ceiling where the sprinkler head was connected.

“Thousands and thousands of gallons of water came pouring through the opening,” said Correddera. The water continued to trickle down to the lower floors in Old Mill, causing extensive and expensive damage in at least one dozen offices. “With the help of the contractors, we have concluded that the cost to fix the damage is expected to be at least $100,000.00,” said Correddera.

“Some furniture was damaged, but the primary destruction was done to the carpeting, ceiling tiles, and the wallboard close to the floor.”

According to the University’s Assistant Director of Facilities as part of the Department of Residential Life, Diane Figari, the pipes that burst in the residence halls also caused damage.

“In the Living and Learning flood, the water came into the room, located on the first floor, through the ceiling,” said Figari. “It was literally like a sauna inside the room. Almost everything was damaged or ruined.”

The reason that the pipes exploded in Living and Learning and Harris Hall was because a window was left cracked open on the floor above the affected rooms during winter vacation.

In Harris, the pipe burst on the fourth floor, causing a heavy flow of water to flow on the third floor through a two centimeter hole between the ceiling and a wooden frame on the windows.

The student whose room flooded, junior Jacqui Callanan, Resident Assistant of Harris Three High, was able to save most of her belongings because she was notified so quickly by the university.

“Because I was on campus already for RA training, I was informed of the flood in my room within ten minutes,” said Callanan. “We moved everything out pretty quickly. Residential Life was wonderful about everything. If my room had to be flooded, this was the best flood that could have happened.”

According to Figari, bursts are rare. When a pipe bursts, UVM’s physical plant, police services, and Stacey Miller, the Director of Residential Life,are immediately notified. If anyone is in the building, they must be evacuated.

UVM students have been alarmed by the recent floods.

“It scares me. I hope it doesn’t happen again!” said first year Millis resident, Dana Fisher. “I feel bad for the people whose rooms got damaged. I would be so upset if the same thing happened to me. What if water got on my Nintendo 64, which I keep on my floor?! If my ‘Hanson’ posters got ruined, I would be wicked upset!”

In order to prevent the pipes from freezing and exploding, Figari stressed that all windows must be shut during the winter time, and also that there should be no furniture covering the heaters because that prevents the warm air from circulating around the room.