12

Improvements Underway After Water Overflow 

at Career Center

Over graduation weekend in mid-June, a fairly large water 

incident occurred at building 97; a toilet overflowed in one 

of the restrooms upstairs, which ultimately flooded to the 

lower level, impacting most of the Career Center office 

areas, meeting rooms, and hallways.

When the Foundation learned about the event on the 

following Monday, the Foundation Central Facilities team 

immediately jumped into action. After shutting off the 

water to the overflowing toilet, they contacted company 

Sheriff Plumbing to get them on-site as quickly as possible, 

and they began to assess the damaged areas. They also 

began to extract the water from all affected areas.

They worked with the Career Center director to help 

relocate the employees who were impacted. The director of 

environmental health and safety (EHS) was also brought in 

to assess the situation from a safety standpoint.

Ultimately, it was necessary to bring in a company that 

specializes in water damage restoration, and Belfor was 

used for that project. Over a several day period, Belfor 

extracted water, ran fans to dry everything out, treated 

carpet, and removed drywall to expose any damaged areas 

to allow for mitigation. A contractor was used to replace 

the drywall and repaint.

When the main sewage lines were snaked out, the workers 

discovered large chunks of grease entangled with paper 

towels. While both substances contributed to the overflow, 

the built-up grease was likely the main culprit. The sewage 

system in building 97 has a line from the kitchen area that 

ties directly into the main sewage line. That line transports 

all wastes from the kitchen area to the main sewage line, 

and this was most likely the source of the grease build-up.

The key design feature to minimize clogged lines from 

kitchen grease is to install grease traps. While there are 

currently no grease 

traps installed in the 

kitchen line to the main 

sewage line, in spring 

2015, University Facilities 

had communicated to 

Foundation Facilities their 

plans to install grease 

traps this summer at 

building 97 and Kellogg 

West. Installing and 

maintaining grease traps 

in these two lines is 

the long-term solution 

to minimize future 

problems.

Installing grease traps is not the only improvement being 

made. The Foundation real estate department is also 

assisting with major enhancements to the Career Center by:

• Replacing carpet in individual rooms and the lobby
• Adding a dividing wall in one of the larger rooms
• Installing a door to provide direct access to the 

conference room, which at this time, can only be 
entered through another room

• Providing a kitchen. This includes both lower and 

upper kitchen cabinets with a double sink and a cut 
out to accommodate a microwave, new floor tile, 
electrical upgrades and a garbage disposal. A pantry 
cabinet will be installed to enclose the mop sink.

The water incident was clearly unplanned, and yet 

everyone involved responded flawlessly! Thank you to the 

Career Center, EHS, Campus Facilities, Foundation Central 

Facilities, and Foundation Real Estate for all your hard work!