Pipeline replaced after heat goes out on east campus

Students walk to campus

Students trudge through the cold. A pipe rupture caused heat outages Thursday. Photo: S.K. Vemmer/UIC News

A rupture to a high-temperature water line Thursday morning caused heat outages in most east side buildings through the afternoon, but all service was back to normal by Saturday.

A section of pipeline failed about 15 feet underground near the west side of Student Center East, causing a geyser of water to shoot up from underground.

The pipeline is about 30 years old, said Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services.

“Over the course of time, these pipes occasionally fail,” Donovan said. “Because it’s under such high pressure and hot, water literally shot through the ground up into the air.”

Heat and hot water had returned to most east campus buildings by Thursday afternoon but evening classes were canceled as a precaution, Donovan said.

Some students living in the Commons residence halls were affected by the outage. Many had heat and hot water by Thursday evening but some areas of the residence halls were without heat and hot water until Saturday afternoon, Donovan said.

Students were directed to use showers in areas of the building that had hot water and temporary heaters were set up in areas that were without heat, he said.

“By and large, the students were accommodated with whatever they needed,” Donovan said.

“They could go down the hall and take a shower. It got a little colder toward Friday night but we didn’t have to evacuate.”

Crews put a temporary repair in place but will replace several hundred feet of pipeline this week, Donovan said.

“Over the next couple of days, you’re going to see some major excavating going on because we examined the condition of the pipe and it’s in very poor condition,” he said.

“It won’t disturb classes or cause any shutdowns.”


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