Well, apparently some of us did not heed our own advice in preparing for the spring thaw.  A sump pump failure outside of the library led to water pouring into the basement of the library—luckily no books were damaged.  On Friday afternoon, water was discovered in the basement of the library where oversize and materials at high risk of theft or vandalism are stored.  It turns out that the water was coming into the library through pipes that house fiber optic cables for Telecom.  These pipes and cables run throughout the university and outside access to them is gained via “pits” located in various spots across campus.  The pit closest to the library is near Pearson and Marston Halls.  The pit filled with water and the sump pump failed, causing flooding into our basement.

In order to capture the water, plastic funnels and hoses were duct taped to the walls and pipes (ala MacGyver), so that the water was directed into two large trashcans (32 and 50 gallons) that completely filled overnight.  A large industrial fan was left on to keep air circulating to prevent pockets of high humidity.  By Saturday afternoon, a new sump pump was installed, and much of the drainage has now stopped. Currently, one pipe is still draining at a rate of 1 inch per hour into a 24-inch diameter trashcan.   More ground thawing and rains are expected tomorrow.

We did have an inexpensive “screaming” water sensor in this corner of the basement, but the amount of staff foot traffic in the basement is minimal.  It is likely that the sensor did go off, but by the time someone went down there the batteries had drained.  Since this is a known problem area, hopefully, a water sensor that hooks into MetaSys (monitoring system that triggers alarms in the Department of Public Safety) will now be installed.