Sagehen Café’s Pipes Serve Up Sewage

A sewage pipe ruptured and created a blockage at the Smith Campus Center (SCC) on Sunday, causing a temporary closing of the Sagehen Café and the SCC bathrooms.

The plumbing blockage occurred beneath the SCC courtyard, according to Neil Gerard, associate dean of students and director of the SCC.

“The waste line separated at a joint and the blockage was caused by rocks and dirt falling into the pipe at that point,” Gerard said. “When the blockage occurred, it backed up sewage into the building and the sewage came out of floor drains, a knock-out plug, and bathroom facilities.”

At 11 p.m. on Sunday, Gerard spoke with John Lopes, Assistant Director of the SCC, to develop a plan to fix the problem.

Lopes stayed at the SCC until 7:30 a.m. Monday when Gerard arrived to relieve him.

Plumbers in full-body suits and masks were brought in to fix the blockage and pipe rupture. An additional trap is being installed between the building and the main line to shorten the distance needed to snake in the event of another blockage, Gerard said.

The Sagehen Café’s carpeting was completely destroyed, and this prevented its reopening. A new carpet was selected on Monday and installed on Tuesday.

The Café was closed Monday and Tuesday and reopened for coffee and lunch service on Wednesday. Bathroom facilities reopened Tuesday.

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