At around 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Facilities Management temporarily shut off water in six buildings on the University of Maryland campus to fix a water main break, said Jim Hogan, assistant director of operations and maintenance for Facilities Management.
The water main break was in front of Preinkert Field House and was first reported to Facilities Management at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Hogan said. The water outage affected the Architecture Building, utilities building SCUB 5, Tawes Hall, Benjamin Building, Knight Hall and the Art-Sociology Building.
"Yesterday, the water was going right down the storm drain, which doesn't harm anyone, so we chose to deal with it today," Hogan said. "We wanted to have enough time to notify people that they would be without water so we could isolate the broken pipe."
Water was restored to the buildings early Thursday night, he said.
The one pipe cracked because of its age — it is a cast-iron water pipe that was installed in the 1950s — and because the weather is getting colder, which results in different pressures that could disturb old pipes, Hogan said.
The repair, which involved 10 people from both pipe services within Facilities Management and an on-call contractor, was supposed to happen quickly with only the use of a clamp, but "getting to the pipe and isolating it became difficult," he said.
The water was originally going to be shut off for only the Architecture Building, but complications with some of the valves that normally control the flow of water meant Facilities Management had to broaden the number of buildings that would not have water.
"You have this expectation that certain valves will provide the result you want and quickly isolate the pipe that has a break," Hogan said, "but sometimes it just doesn't happen that way and you have to go back further along the line and shut even more valves off, which affects even more buildings."