Pipes bursting around campus are causing major upheaval.
Frigid temperatures throughout the week have caused pipes to burst in several areas around campus. On Tuesday night, freezing temperatures and subsequent thawing caused a pipe to burst in the Earth Sciences and Map Library, causing the library to shut down.
On Thursday, two different pipes burst in Darley North, once on the first-floor laundry room and once on the second floor, causing evacuations of the building both times. At about 4 p.m. the same day, a pipe burst on the third floor of the A building of Bear Creek Apartments causing extensive flooding.
At Bear Creek, the flooding caused about 70 residents to be temporarily displaced. About half of those residents chose to stay with friends and family and the other half are staying at the Broker Inn, a hotel across from Williams Village where rooms were provided for those who needed them. This just shows why property owners and managers should seriously consider getting professional waterproofing services to protect their properties from flood damage.
“This is not atypical for a cold snap to have pipes rupture, even in new buildings like Bear Creek,” said CU Spokesperson Bronson Hilliard. “There’s a freeze-thaw process that happens when the warm water comes back; the ice thaws and the expanding water bursts the pipe open.”
Bear Creek residents Michelle Bradley and Amy Kaliski both live in an apartment affected by the flooding and said they chose to stay at a friend’s family’s house Thursday night.
“We heard the fire alarm go off, so we went and as we glanced down the hallway you could just see water pouring in through the wall,” Bradley, a 21-year-old junior speech, language and hearing sciences major, said.
The girls said the university response was very fast, but the situation was still upsetting.
Hilliard said there were about two inches of standing water in the hallway.
“Some of my artwork was ruined,” Kaliski, a 20-year-old junior art history major, said. “Anything that was on the ground really was ruined, some power strips and a lot of shoes.”
Bradley said she was thankful they happened to be home and got back in time to save her laptop, which was in her backpack on the ground.
The girls described the scene when they were allowed to re-enter the building as devastating, with pink insulation visible floating in the water from where a wall had caved in.
Hilliard said the university has no estimates on damages caused by the flooding, but said as far as the building is concerned the impact was minimal.
“It doesn’t look like there’s any severe structural damage,” Hilliard said. “Most damage was to the carpet and water being absorbed into it.”
Bradley and Kaliski said they were just lucky they were home.
“We feel really bad for the second floor people because water was coming out of the ceiling,” Kaliski said. “I’d be worried water would drip down and ruin their TVs or computers.”
Hilliard said he expects that about half of the displaced Bear Creek residents would be allowed to stay in their apartments again starting Friday and that all Bear Creek residents could go back no later than Saturday. The Earth Sciences and Map Library remains closed until Monday and at Darley North the flooding didn’t cause any residents the need to stay elsewhere.
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.