Due to a large sanitary backup in the University Union, multiple student organizations were affected by leaks in their offices on Saturday afternoon.
According to Michael Kukawa, director of operations and construction for Physical Facilities, 11 rooms were affected by the backup, with nine offices in the basement and two rooms on the first floor seeing leaks.
After responding to reports of leakage, Physical Facilities, the department in charge of maintaining, operating and protecting the University’s buildings, roads and grounds, was able to determine the root cause of the backup — a blockage in the six-inch house trap for University Union West. According to Kukawa, the blockage was made up of rust and scale that had accumulated in the trap.
“The blockage was so severe that the trap had to be cut out and repaired,” Kukawa wrote in an email. “As of Sunday morning, all plumbing repairs have been completed.”
The damage from the leakage varied by room, with some organizations affected more heavily than others.
Michael Morganti, president of Binghamton Television (BTV) and a senior double-majoring in geography and cinema, said the leak caused significant damage to BTV’s studio, with a large amount of their production equipment contaminated by the leak.
“Our office has now been fixed, but we now have limited options regarding our productions,” Morganti wrote in an email. “We have been contacted by the assistant director of the [Student Association (SA)] regarding the immediate steps to follow after the leak. We are still awaiting clarification as to how we will be able to get our equipment replaced.”
However, other organizations, such as SA Ink, did not see much damage. Jessica Zhao, a printing clerk for SA Ink and a senior majoring in accounting, said while there was a leak in their office, SA Ink’s printing equipment was not impacted.
“All the papers are fine, for the most part,” Zhao said. “There’s really no big issue. Physical Facilities have been coming in and out — the wall was open yesterday and they’re on that and they’re coming back tomorrow.”
According to Kukawa, Physical Facilities removed wet drywall and ceiling tiles from the rooms affected by the leakage to avoid mold and other issues. Humidifiers were also placed in some rooms to help speed up the drying process.
“We removed wet drywall and ceiling tiles and are allowing the affected areas to dry out before replacing,” Kukawa wrote. “Estimate for complete restoration is two weeks.”
Because of the leaks, the Marketplace also briefly closed Gardentoss and Moghul on Saturday, according to Thomas LaSarso, general manager of retail operations for Sodexo at Binghamton University. No other areas of the Marketplace were affected.
According to Morganti, the leak was well handled by Physical Facilities immediately after it happened, but he said it was disappointing that the leak occurred in the first place.
“I am, however, disappointed that an event like this happened in a building as new as the University Union West,” Morganti wrote. “These pipes might have required some more inspection, especially since a smaller leak happened last spring in our studio. I now hope that the University will do the right thing in helping us [get] our equipment back as soon as possible, but unfortunately it seems that it won’t be that easy.”