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Union eateries shutdown caused by "sewer pipe"

by Margaret Stewart - Copy Editor
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 02:00 pm

Students’ routines were interrupted as the Brockport Seymour College Union shut down its main eateries, Jitterbugs Café and the Union Square, around noon on Monday, Feb. 18, leaving many at a loss for food options. 

Associate Director of Communications John Follaco, was on campus and able to shed some light on the incident, though he was unaware what had caused it.

“The Square and Jitterbugs were forced to close today due to a plumbing issue in the Seymour College Union,” Follaco wrote. 

According to Director of Facilities Planning John Osowski, the restaurants closed due to a “maintenance problem” involving a “sewer pipe.”

“It [the sewer pipe] got plugged,” Osowski said. “The cleaning people are cleaning up any water that spilled over and our plumbers are working on clearing the apparent obstruction in the sewer.”

Fortunately, the disruption was limited to the Union Square and Jitterbugs. 

This was also the first day of the annual Scholar’s Sleepover that The College at Brockport hosts. Admissions Advisor Patrick Callery helped organize the sleepover and said that the event was not affected.

“Nothing changed because we weren’t using the Union for a lot of spaces,” Callery said. 

The flooding was only an issue on the south side of the union and posed no threat to those within the building.

“It’s [the building] always been safe,” Osowski said. “It’s just that part of the building wasn’t [usable]. The restrooms were [un]usable and then that part of the building because of the sanitary sewer obstruction.”

As for the north side of the building, it was unaffected as it is on a different sewage line than the south side.

 “It wasn’t in that part of the building,” Osowski said. “It was never an issue.”

Some remembered the flood that occurred in the basement of the Union in the spring of 2018. Osowski said that this was a similar incident, with the only difference being that this recent incident was a different pipe.

As the Union is a building with a kitchen, Osowski said that this type of incident is not an uncommon occurrence. 

“Buildings that have kitchens are prone to issues like this,” Osowski said. “Cooking food gets in the waste lines, grease gets in the waste lines and in particular, grease is a big problem.”

In this case, it is the grease that is looking like the culprit as, when it gets poured down drains, it is hot and as it cools the grease solidifies which can cause a blockage over time.

“Once in a rare, rare while things like this happen and pipes need to be repaired and obstructions need to be removed,” Osowski said.

As Osowski did agree to the fact a similar backup happened last year, it is unclear whether or not sewage backups are to be expected in the Union. 

The maintenance crew lost no time in fixing and cleaning up the mess. According to Follaco, “both locations are expected to reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 19.”

Brockport Auxiliary Service Corporation (BASC) issued a gag order on its employees, preventing them from issuing any individual statements factual or otherwise.

Many BASC executives were unavailable for comment as they were reportedly in meetings. 

BASC Executive Director Dana Weiss could not be located until she had already left for the day.

According to the BASC Business Office, Director of Dining at BASC Catherine Legacy had left for the day by early afternoon on Monday. 

Assistant Executive Director of BASC Administration Anna Hintz could not be located for comment. 

Director of Student Union and Activities Kimberley Haines, was not in her office and unavailable to comment.