Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Toilet burst on Greek Hill, floods two sorority houses

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
A shop vacuum sits in the basement of the Delta Delta Delta house on Sunday, Nov. 10, after the house was flooded the night before.
Photo by Zach Tate

A toilet in F building on Greek Hill burst Saturday, Nov. 9 at about 11 p.m., which resulted in flooded basements for two on-campus sorority houses, Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta.

Due to the severity of the flooding in the basements and second floor, some 20 members of Alpha Chi Omega and 11 members of Delta Delta Delta were not able to sleep in their rooms Saturday night.

The Greek Hall director's apartment sits between Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta's on-campus houses. The apartment's toilet broke at 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, and flooded the neighboring houses.
Photo by Zach Tate

The toilet that broke was in the Greek Hill Hall Director’s apartment, located between Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta.

“The toilet developed a small leak. An unauthorized personnel attempted to fix the toilet and actually caused it to open up a water line that then flooded the building,” Director of Facilities Management Angela Meyer said.

Director of University Communications Ann Hayes said the flooding was caused by an individual not employed by the university attempting to repair the toilet.

“If they had left it alone, the building would not have been flooded,” Meyer said.

According to Meyer, instead of attempting to repair the leak the Hall Director “needed to wait for a plumber to respond.”

Members of Facilities Management arrived at about 1:30 a.m. The Hall Director called the incident in around 12 a.m.

A Southeast junior who lives in the Delta Delta Delta house, Gabby Gotsch said the water entering the house was leaking through the ceiling tiles and light fixtures, which made the women in the house fear unsafe conditions.

“It was the most bizarre thing,” Gotsch said. “It just looked like it was raining through all the floors [in the hall] and the ceilings, from the start, looked like they were just like falling apart and that they couldn't hold how much water was coming down.”

Students living in the houses scrambled to collect the water in trash cans, eliminate electrical hazards, place tarps on the floors and protect their personal belongings.

This continued until after Facilities Management workers arrived, Gotsch said, because the Hall Director was not able to shut off the water herself because she did not have access to the locked room in which to shut off the water.

“It’s a mechanical room. Only [Facilities Management] personnel have access to mechanical rooms,” Meyer said.

Ceiling tiles in the basement of the Delta Delta Delta house show water damage after the house flooded on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Photo by Zach Tate

Even in case of emergency, Meyer said, hall directors would not have access to the mechanical room because “mechanical rooms are unauthorized to anybody outside of [Facilities Management].”

Facilities Management worked on cleaning up the water and repairing the toilet throughout the night and into Sunday. Several large fans were in place Sunday afternoon in place to help with drying.

Gotsch said the students were able to return to their rooms on Sunday; while the fans have helped to dry the water, she said “a bad odor” remains in the house, and she’s concerned there may still be some safety hazards.

There appeared to be mold growing as early as Sunday evening, Gotsh said, and ceiling tiles looked wet and like they could collapse at any time.

Meyer said the extent of the damage was saturated flooring, ceiling tile, duct work and insulation.

With multiple leaks occurring on Greek Hill this year, Meyer noted aging infrastructure is likely the reason behind the leaks. She went on to say Greek Hill is not priority for repairs.

“There are no plans for Greek Housing at this time. The focus will be at Towers this summer,” Meyer said.

According to Meyer, Facilities Management does not have a definite time frame for how long it will take for the clean up efforts to be finished.