Sewage blockage displaces 42 students

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Jacob Baumgart/THE REVIEW
Students in George Read were displaced this past week after a sewage leak.

BY
Senior Reporter

This article was updated on Sept. 17.

A sewage blockage in George Read South Residence Hall forced 42 students to immediately relocate to temporary housing on Monday.

The sewage blockage came from the bathrooms on the second floor, and the ensuing leaks also damaged rooms below on the first floor, including the Resident Assistant (RA) office.

“UD officials responded quickly, cleaning and sanitizing many of the rooms,” Andrea Boyle Tippett, director of external relations, said in an email. “Those who cannot move back yet, where the damage was greatest, are living temporarily elsewhere on campus.”

Boyle Tippett said more than half of the displaced residents have moved back into their rooms.

The amount of damage from the sewage blockage varied between rooms, depending on how severe the leak was in each location. Some of these rooms needed only sanitization to be habitable again, while others also required the installation of new drywall. The affected rooms are two suite-style bedrooms connected by a shared bathroom, which is where the leaks pooled.

Hunter Wyrick, one of the displaced students whose bathroom needed new drywall, said the sewage entered through the shower of his shared bathroom and spread across the floor.

“I came home [Monday], and I’m like ‘Aw dude what’s that awful smell?’” Wyrick, a freshman studying computer engineering, said. “My friend [said] ‘Oh, dude, it just started coming out of the shower.’”

Wyrick said a puddle of water from the sewage leak sat in his shower when he came home Monday afternoon. He said the water was misty and had paper towels in it. Though the puddle contained no solid stool, Wyrick said he knew it was sewage because of its smell.

Wyrick said his roommate called for help with the leak and put a wet towel under the bathroom door to prevent the scent from spreading.

Eventually, the towel could not block the aroma any longer, and Wyrick said the smell of the sewage spread into his room.

“This rancid sulfur smell comes through the air, and it just starts growing, and then it starts coming in the room,” Wyrick said. “Then it just ends up getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it engulfs the entire room.”

Wyrick said everybody from the affected rooms gathered in the building’s first-floor lounge while the building’s staff “… desperately [emailed] people to try to find information about what to do with [the residents].”

Wyrick said the affected residents spent the night in the Courtyard by Marriott on North Campus on Monday night. Students who still needed temporary housing moved into Smyth Hall’s empty rooms on Tuesday night.

Wyrick said the way the George Read staff handled the situation was “fantastic.”

“They were very good about emailing us, and they moved us very quickly,” Wyrick said after he moved back into his room Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, the RA office was still closed, and paper covered the flooring in one wing of the second floor hallway.

As of 7:00 p.m. on Monday, the office of Residence Life and Housing had not provided any information about the leak and its effects on its social media and website.

“Any affected students who have concerns are encouraged to call the Division of Student Life,” Boyle Tippett said.

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