Martinetti water system repaired


Briana Morin

Toby Stewart

In the late afternoon of Monday, Sept. 21, Students walking into Martinetti Hall would have noticed water pouring out of the side door leading to the water pump.

Not long after this began, Martinetti Hall Advisor Ross King sent out an email to Martinetti residents stating that the entirety of the building’s water system wasn’t working.
So what exactly caused the water system to fail? The answer has to do with the system’s “backflow valve.”

“The purpose of the backflow valve is to prevent water contamination,” said Toby Stewart, JSC controller.. “The good water goes through one way, the backflow valve, and hopefully the water never comes back the other way, but if it does, there’s a valve that will activate and keep the water source pure and clean.”

According to Stewart, there was a failure in the backflow valve.

“As the water was coming in through that valve, the valve wasn’t functioning and the water was leaking, Stewart said. “So because of that, the water supply needed to be shut down in order to figure out how to fix that valve.”

Later that night, students received another email that explained that they had accessed another water source to provide water to the building, and that this water was not safe to drink, brush teeth, or wash dishes with. However, it was okay for student5s to shower.

Cases of bottled water were provided for students in each of Martinetti’s residence lounges.
Stewart explained that the maintenance crew had run a hose from a fire hydrant over to Martinetti, and rerouted the water around the broken valve to supply the building with water.

Stewart emphasized the importance of the roles of three members of JSC’s maintenance crew: Physical Plant Maintenance Tech III Jarrod Irwin, physical plant maintenance supervisor Dave Muir, and plumber Mark McMann.

“Those guys did a great job of handling the situation, finding a fix, and implementing a fix,” Stewart said. “If they hadn’t been able to do that, Martinetti would have been out of water for a couple days… they averted a big issue.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Jeffrey Bickford sent an email to students stating that the repair had been made, but the water still hadn’t been tested for human consumption. The following day, the students were given the green light to consume the water again.

Stewart gave a rough estimate that the overall cost to fix this issue was around $2,000, which included the cost of repairing the water system as well as handling the situation.

“There was some overtime, there was a new backflow valve that was purchased… there was some bottled water that was purchased for the residential students… at the end of the day, financially, it was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things,” Stewart said.