This archived article was written by: Kellie Henderson
After a long battle with a stench that has lingered in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center’s north restrooms since its construction, the smell has dissipated.
Maintenance investigated several solutions to no avail, according to Sheila Burghardt, facility manager, including, “Pumping the grease traps more often, installing longer vent piping on the roof vents to allow odors to dissipate, checking the manhole covers to ensure there is no contamination, add water in floor drains in restrooms, custodial rooms and mechanical rooms on a regular basis … . [and] checking exhaust fans to make sure they are working properly.”
An investigation of the source of the problem and the components of the odor was conducted by R&R Environmental Inc., which concluded that the smell did not contain harmful chemicals.
The most recent remedy included bioremediation treatments, which is the use of biocide to fight contamination. The application of this treatment, coupled with the drop in air pressure, seem to explain the sudden disappearance of the smell, says Burghardt.
The smell usually lessens in intensity during the winter as the air pressure decreases, but this level of fluctuation is incredibly unusual. Burghardt explains, “We’re kind of in a wait-and-see mode. If it comes back in the spring then we’ll know we need to investigate it further and do more, but luckily that’s when our improvement money comes in … The number one request for capital improvement funding for the next fiscal year is a commissioning of several campus HVAC systems. I have talked to the project manager and asked that this problem be dealt with as part of that project.”