Heavy rainfall caused floods in multiple Yale buildings Saturday, including a flow of sewage and water that filled part of the basement of Timothy Dwight College.
The custodial department had anticipated flooding would occur this weekend, Director of Custodial Services Robert Young said, but he said the 12 incidents on Saturday were the most he has seen in one day in his four years on the job.
“We consider it a busy day if we’ve got two,” Young said.
There was also flooding in Jonathan Edwards, Silliman and Calhoun colleges, the Whitney Humanities Center, the Hall of Graduate Studies, the School of Management, Osborne Memorial Laboratories, Kline Biology Tower, the Peabody Museum, Cullman Courts and the health center, Young said.
In TD, the amount of rainwater was too heavy for the drainage system to handle, Young said, and the drains overflowed. The heaviest concentration of sewage was underneath the college’s dining hall, and continued along that side in the basement to entryway I, he said. There was also uncontaminated water in the basement in the side of the college along Grove Street.
As of late Sunday afternoon, the flooding in 10 of the areas on campus was cleaned up, Young said. Work to dehumidify the Humanities Center and dry and sanitize TD’s basement continued, he said.
“We’re airing out the dining hall and we’re continuing to clean up,” he said.
The dining hall, closed after brunch on Saturday, should open for lunch today, according to posted signs.
On Saturday, the smell was strong in the entrance to the dining hall area and a shallow level of sewage covered the basement floor. Water reached the bottom steps of stairs leading from the basement to the first floor in the Grove Street entryways. By Sunday, the smell was still present, but the material appeared to have been removed.
The college’s students said they could smell the sewage in the basement below when they woke up on Saturday morning. Geraldine Gassam ’07 said she had first assumed the smell came from the bathroom or leftover pizza from her trash can, but the smell continuously became stronger as she walked downstairs.
Because it was raining, Jill Dancewicz ’06 said she had tried to use the basement to travel to the dining hall.
“I saw this flood of little toilet paper shreds coming,” Dancewicz said. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.'”
Jeohn Favors ’05 said he was part of a group of students who voluntarily moved items in the valuables storage area and built dams to stop the flow of water.
Custodial services was forced to bring in additional staff to handle the floods. Though Young said he was not sure about the total number of extra workers, he said about two or three people were brought in for each flooded area. Workers from ServiceMaster, a national professional cleaning service, were also brought in to help with the TD cleanup, he said.
There was no damage to the equipment in the college’s computer and television rooms, Young said, but the carpets were soaked and may be replaced. He said he did not know the total cost of the cleanup effort.
Young said he was not aware of a previous situation of flooding resulting in sewage flowing into a college.
Last January, a toilet broke in Lanman-Wright Hall, leaking sewage down an entryway.
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