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Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 7 

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Broken pipe cuts water supply to several campus buildings

A broken water pipe restricted the use of rest room facilities and fountains in some buildings Monday.

By Audrey Warren
Daily Cougar staff

An 8-inch water pipe broke in front of the Architecture Building on Monday morning, flooding the area and stopping up sinks and commodes across campus during the day.

Discovering the broken water pipe was not the hard part, said Conrad Murphy, assistant director of facility management, because of the geyser of water coming out of the ground at 11 a.m. as soon as it broke.

It was fixing the problem that took all day, Murphy said. 


Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar


A crew from the UH physical plant worked to fix a broken water pipe in front of the Architecture Building on Monday. The pipe is assumed to have broken because of dry weather conditions.

He said the break was probably caused by the dry weather Houston has been experiencing.

"The dry soil makes the ground shift and settle," he said.

When the ground settles, it can put tension on a pipe and cause it to crack or break. Murphy related the break to a compound fracture.

The 4-inch pipes that run underground at UH are used to service only one or two buildings at a time on campus, Murphy said, but the pipe that broke yesterday was one of the larger 8-inch pipes.

These pipes work as a network, servicing several buildings at once, Murphy said.

The problem affected buildings as far apart as the Architecture and Ezekiel Cullen Buildings, Murphy said. Commodes and sinks in rest room facilities were apparently the most affected areas.

A representative from the UH Work Control Station said that calls flooded in all day after the water break.

"My staff was asking if they could go home," said Debbie Hurts, College of Technology business manager.

When the problem was first noticed, many people in the building thought it would only be a couple of hours before it was fixed, Hurts said.

"But at 3 p.m. people were still having to walk all the way over to the library to use the rest room," she said.

"People really wanted to go home, but because it's the first of the year, a lot of staff had work they had to do," Hurts said.

Murphy said the problem would be fixed by pumping some of the water from the pipe and placing a large clamp over the break.

"We will be out here until the problem is fixed," Murphy said Monday afternoon.

The Fine Arts and Engineering buildings were also affected, Murphy said.

"A lot of people had to use (hand) wipes that allowed you to wash your hands without water," Hurts said. "It's just not very sanitary."

A crew of workers toiled all day to fix the problem. Murphy said water was fed from other pipes on campus to the buildings experiencing problems in order to remedy the situation.
 

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