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Water main break leaves MVNU without water

For the second time in two months, MVNU was forced to shut the water off to a portion of campus due to a crack in the main water line.

The center of campus, which includes academic buildings, the chapel and dorms, was without running water for six hours on Wednesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. During this time, MVNU students, faculty and staff were unable to use sinks, flush toilets or take showers in these areas.

MVNU was then under a boil advisory until 3 p.m. Thursday.

The northern section of campus, including Morrison, Redwood and most of the apartment areas, was not affected by the break as these areas receive their water “before the shutoff valve at Ariel,” said Director of Facilities Operations Russell Bray.

The crack appeared beneath the Galloway parking lot in the main water line that runs from Ariel Arena, across the lot and through the center of campus.

“When the break occurs in the main line, our only option is to close large parts of the system down,” Bray said. “If the break occurred in another line it may be possible to isolate that break and reduce the number of buildings impacted.”

When the break was discovered, MVNU brought in Houston Plumbing to repair the line and Claggett & Sons to excavate the area.

“The six-hour fix was the best-case scenario and possible because of the responsiveness of our contractors,” Bray said.

Following the repair, MVNU was under a boil advisory to protect the community from possible pathogens.

According to Bray, when a water line is opened, foreign particles can easily enter the pipe and, as a precaution, a boil advisory is issued to remove them.

“In this case, the break and repair were relatively clean with very little chance of contamination,” Bray said.

MVNU is working to prevent this from happening again.

“All systems are capable of breaking down over time,” Bray said. “We are evaluating ways to minimize the impact of a break.”

However, even with the right precautions, maintenance recognizes that time and the elements are a huge factor.

“The other part is to replace piping that is deteriorating,” Bray said.

However, “our campus is young enough that this is not believed to be an issue yet,” he said.

While fixing the water main break on Wednesday, the contractors confirmed this assessment and determined the pipe was in good condition and did not need to be fully replaced.

Bray said people across campus demonstrated patience even while they weren’t sure how long the water would be shut off.

“I was reminded of how supportive and gracious this community really is,” he said.

MVNU facilities employees will continue to monitor the water system and provide the needed repairs and upgrades.

To sign up for MVNU text alerts for campus wide emergencies, text “MVNU” to 888-777.

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