Water leak near Mehling Hall causes disruption to water and heat services on campus

By Kimberly Cortez | October 24, 2023 8:30pm

The construction crew assesses the leak in the pipe on the southeast corner of Mehling Hall. Heat and water services will be off from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 26 in certain areas on campus.

Media Credit: Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

Heat and water services will be off from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Oct. 25 and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.Thursday, Oct. 26 in certain resident halls and buildings on campus due to a large water leak located by Physical Plant, according to Operations Coordinator Melissa Porter. 

Corrado, Villa Maria, Mehling, Mago Hunt, the LP Tennis Center and the School of Nursing Annex will not have any heat or water services for showers, sinks and toilets. The Bauccio Commons and Clark Library will still have water, but they won't have hot water or heat available. 

Orrcio hall will also be affected by the shut-offs, causing the Health Center and Counseling Center to be closed for in-person appointments. 

The Villa Maria parking lot is closed for repairs happening throughout Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

General Manager of Food Services Matt Talevera says that the Commons will be operating as normal despite the shut-offs, saying they “have a plan around it.” The only difference is the use of paper dishes to limit the amount of plates for dishwashers. 

Physical Plant had been working over fall break to find and fix the underground leak. After finally locating it near Mehling hall, the leak turned out to be more substantial than what was initially thought, leading to the unexpected two day shut-off this week. 

“This has been a pretty large leak that we've been trying to track down for months,” Porter said. “It has been very difficult to track down, especially while trying to limit our disruption to all of our buildings on campus.”

Physical Plant workers will be working to fix the leak in rainy weather — impacting an already understaffed resource on campus.

Physical Plant workers will be working to fix the leak in rainy weather — impacting an already understaffed resource on campus.

by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

Porter advised students to plan for taking showers before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. during the days the services will be shut off and to use other facilities on campus that are not affected by the shut off. Ultimately, the Facility Services Office is hopeful that the services will return sooner rather than later. 

“We are trying to find a way to not disrupt all of those buildings,” Porter said. “As of now, we haven't had any luck. So, we're letting everyone know that it's 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., but we are hoping that those will be shorter hours. We just want to create a safe buffer so that we're not having to last-minute extend the timeframe.” 

The water leaking from the pipe pushes dirt above. Workers use a vacuum like machine to suction the dirt out of the way.

by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

Residence Life also advises students to use other facilities on campus including other residence halls, also citing Beauchamp as an option. 

“We are happy to help any student secure access to a private bathroom and shower in another residence hall if they wish,” Director of Residence Life Andrew Weingarten said in an email. “Our hall staff in other halls are already aware that students from the West Quad residence halls may be needing some assistance.”

Both Porter and Weingarten hope that because the shut-offs are scheduled during times where students are in class they’ll have access to working services. 

“Most students are in classes from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. or can be out and about,” Porter said. “There are plenty of places on campus that can accommodate restroom use. So, we do feel like there's a decent accessibility for those students.” 

Kimberly Cortez is the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Editor for The Beacon. They can be reached at cortez25@up.edu.