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The Collegian News Blog

Burst pipe floods FAC

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

These photographs - capturing the scene after a waterpipe in the Fine Arts Center burst and flooded a portion of the building - come from UMass student and music major Katelyn Haggerty.

Haggerty was one of several students scrambling to remove their possessions from storage in the waterlogged FAC last Saturday. She managed to save both her instruments and her music from the sudden deluge, but criticized the University for the conditions inside the FAC both before and after the incident.

"All of the people that practice in FAC are really upset. There was a meeting at the beginning of the semester about how the ceiling tiles were ripped off, revealing the old piping, which had bags just "in case there were to be a leak". We were told it wouldn't happen. The FAC is a really old and gross building anyway and us music majors rehearse in it everyday. We had had to clean out our lockers before winter break anyway because we were told there was asbestos in the practice rooms, and that they had needed toclean it out," Haggerty wrote in an e-mail to the news section of the Daily Collegian.

According to Patrick Callahan, a spokesman for the University, the pipe - located in the ceiling above room 157 in the FAC - burst at about 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.

The joint compound holding the sheetrock to the ceiling contained a miniscule amount of asbestos prompting University officials to take the necessary precautions, Callahan said earlier this afternoon. Containing less than 1 percent asbestos, the compound posed no risk to either students or University employees, according to Callahan.

"It's not really enough to cause any problems and enough to report it," Callahan said. "
Anytime there's any chance of that they put those signs up. It's because we report it all. We're required to report it all."

The University contacted the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and reported the possible asbestos contamination to state officials following the flood, according to Callahan.

"Every time something like that happens, you're going to see the little tape and the little signs go up," Callahan said.

He described the University's response as "hyper-careful."
posted by Derrick Perkins, 9:45 PM


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