Crews work to fix water main break

Repairs estimated to cost thousands as old pipe bursts under road

A facilities services worker saws a pipe after a water main broke on Campus Street Tuesday.

Courtesy of Dan Costello

A facilities services worker saws a pipe after a water main broke on Campus Street Tuesday.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

A water main pipe burst early Tuesday morning on the WSU campus, causing a water outage to three buildings and a flood in the basement of another.

The repairs will cost the university an estimated $20,000-25,000, Associate Vice President of Operations Dan Costello said.

WSU Facilities received a call around 6:30 a.m. about a large amount of water coming up through Campus Street and landscaping in front of Duncan-Dunn Hall.

“You prefer these things don’t happen, but we’re prepared when they do,” Costello said. “Once we were notified, we had a really collaborative work effort between several different departments.”

Dale Clark, a plumber who worked on the break, said the water main was four-inches in diameter with a two-inch hole. Five feet of the rusted pipe was cut out and replaced.

The break was caused by the pipe settling onto a rock underneath it, Costello said. Over time the rock had worn into the pipe until it finally burst.

The leak let out 250,000 – 350,000 gallons a day for months, Costello said. The campus usually uses 450 – 500 million gallons a year.

Water main breaks happen two to three times a year on the Pullman campus, Costello said. This is partly due to the age of the pipes and the sheer amount of pipes the university manages.

Water was shut off for three hours to McCrosky, Wilmer-Davis and Duncan-Dunn halls. During the repair, water leaked into underground facility tunnels and into the basement of Honors Hall.

Honors Hall was cleaned up Tuesday but will continue to be monitored by WSU Environmental Health and Safety to make sure moisture levels stay at a safe level.