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Pipe BurstsIn Stratton, Water Pours Into Student Club Offices

By Kelley Rivoire

Water poured into parts of the fourth and fifth floors of the Student Center last Monday when the cap on a chilled water pipe ruptured, said Bernard Richard, manager of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing operations.

The leak caused water to gush into the Student Information Processing Board’s office on the fifth floor, he said, from which it then drained down to the fourth floor, damaging the content of several student groups’ offices in the northeast corner.

The Insurance Office is currently assessing damages, said Michael W. Foley, associate director of the Campus Activities Complex in an e-mail.

Water “poured down for a good 15 to 20 minutes,” said Matthew S. DeBergalis ’00, an associate SIPB member, who arrived at the SIPB office during the leak. About two inches of water collected on the floor of the entire room, he said, damaging books and computers. The carpet in the office, as well as the damaged materials, will need to be replaced, he said. DeBergalis said it was his understanding that MIT would pay for the damages.

The Educational Studies Program office was also affected, with water “coming in from the ceiling and the hallway,” wrote Chairman Michael Shaw ’07 in an e-mail. Most files and computers were moved or covered, but “we lost an indeterminate amount of less critical paperwork, all of which had to be reprinted,” in addition to damage to the ceiling, floor, and furniture in the office, Shaw said.

ESP plans to pay for replacement of furniture and papers from its capital budget, and “work out an arrangement with CAC in the fall” with regard to damages to the ceiling and floor. Shaw said he had not seen the office himself, and was speaking from his “best understanding of the situation.”

Queries to the officers of the Lecture Series Committee and Outing Club, which have offices in the affected corner, were not returned. Technique, which also has an office near ESP on the fourth floor, was not affected, said member Colin Dillard ’06.

To clean up the water, vacuums and dryers were used, the walls were wiped down, and standing water was secured to minimize damage, Richard said. “We have leaks periodically,” said Richard, who said future leaks were “likely.” Richard said typically about six ruptures occur per year throughout the campus. Mechanical rooms are inspected monthly, though equipment is not necessarily tested, he said.