Gibson and Washington College experience enduring septic issues

By Heather Fabritze

Student Life Editor

            Septic complications in Washington College buildings continue to be an issue, causing disruptions in Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts and the Cain Athletic Center’s daily activities this past month.

            On Friday, March 24, the WC Office of Buildings and Grounds sent a campus-wide email warning of sewage problems in Gibson.

            The extent of these complications stretched from Gibson down to Parking Lot A. According to Director of Facilities Stan Yeakel, there were several blockages in the main line serving the lower west side of campus.

            As they worked to fix the already-existing problems, there was a resurgence Monday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 28.

            Yeakel said that the Buildings and Grounds staff “cleared” these problems “immediately” on Wednesday, March 29 and Thursday, March 30. Workers had to shut down Cain and Gibson periodically to do clean-ups.

            The team were also forced to temporarily stop Cain’s water line due to the sewage issues.

            Meanwhile, many classes in Gibson went remote or were moved to other buildings. Some work for performances and productions remained in the theater.

            According to Gibson Center Coordinator Patrick Salerno ’21, this incident is the second time this academic year that sewage problems occurred inside Gibson. When they faced septic issues last semester, the problem was fixed within a few days.

Salerno attributes this month’s situation to a pipe burst which spilled into the Gibson basement. The College brought in an outside contractor to seal the burst and sanitize the building.

            Buildings and Grounds are currently unsure of what caused the issue.

“We don’t know for sure, so we are looking into several investigated measures to draw a conclusion,” Yeakel said. “We had a large public event over the past weekend which added volume to the system, which may have exacerbated a smaller initial issue.”

To prevent such problems in the future, the College will be instituting a pre-flushing protocol prior to and right after large events. Administration also sent out an email on Friday, March 31 with a video instructing students on what they should and should not be flushing down toilets to hopefully avoid septic issues like those in Louis L. Goldstein Hall.

Elm Archive Photo

Photo Caption: The Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts closed briefly last week in response to septic issues.

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