Heavy rains flooded the basement of Timothy Dwight College last week, destroying carpets in a computer cluster and student lounge.
The backup may have been caused by a faulty valve in a drainage pipe that leads to the street, Director of Facilities Operations Eric Uscinski said. Because the pipe feeds through grease separators in the college’s dining hall, both grease and food items were present in the water that flooded the kitchen, computer room, seminar lounge and other parts of the basement. Uscinski said the damage was limited to the carpets, which will have to be replaced.
Facilities workers replaced the valve but are unsure of whether the problem has been solved permanently, Uscinski said.
“We’re still looking at it,” he said. “A lot of times you fix something like that, you don’t know until the next event whether it’s going to happen again.”
The flood echoed an incident two years ago in which a backed-up pipe sent water and sewage into Timothy Dwight’s basement during a severe rainstorm. University officials then believed the problem was that only one pipeline served to move both drainage and sewage out of the college, Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said. Yale and the city of New Haven have worked together over the last few years to separate storm and sewage lines, Suttle said.
“We have been told for years that the problem with flooding in our business is related to the fact that … in many cases the city only had one line,” he said.
Uscinski said Timothy Dwight was the only building to suffer major flooding problems during last week’s storms.