Sebastien Mehegan / Equinox Staff

Rachel Vitello

News Editor

Anyone who has walked down Appian Way in the past few weeks has probably noticed the construction work being done in the area near the Media Arts Center (MAC), Spaulding Gym and in front of the Student Center. On Thursday, April 18, a sewage leak occurred that impacted the MAC and contributed to the sidewalk repair and construction happening on Appian Way.

According to KSC Plumbing and Heating Supervisor Bill Rymes, the sewage leak was the result of tree roots in the drain line. This is the third time that this issue had been identified, however the other two times had been at different locations on campus about 15 years ago.

“It’s a common problem with drains. Typically you cut the roots out and it takes care of the issue. Then it reoccurred so we cleared a line and thought we had solved it. Then it happened a third time. After that we decided to dig the line up which entailed cutting out the sidewalk of Appian Way,” Rymes said.

A site contractor was hired to do that work. They removed panels on the sidewalk and found a repair coupling that had been put in at the time that the front entranceway of the MAC was installed. It had become misaligned and that’s how the tree roots were coming in. The tree roots in the drain caused a sewer backup which impacted the MAC building.

“Just the Media Arts Center had the blockage. There was a floor drain in the back hallway that came out of a sprinkler mechanical room, that’s where the backup showed up,” Rymes said.

Custodial services were able to promptly clean and sanitize the area once the blockage was reported.

Journalism professor Marianne Salcetti, who teaches out of the MAC, did not report any sewage affecting the classrooms she teaches in.

“I never smelled or saw any rug damage in (room) 160. Most of the yucky stuff seemed confined to the rear of building, in the hallway going out back by the loading dock,” Salcetti said.

KSC President Melinda Treadwell said that this issue is not uncommon with old piping systems and that the college is working to resolve the issue.

“Most companies will come in and run a camera through the line and they could see part of the piping had begun to decay, which happens in older systems,” Treadwell said. “They’re cutting the line all the way back and making a new line. That’s a good thing that we discovered it, but it’s a bad thing that it was happening.”

Rymes said that the only work that needs to be done at this point is the sidewalk repair.

“We replaced the line. We had good pipe going back into the building and we replaced it out to a sewer manhole in the middle of Appian Way and that work was completed. Now the concrete is being put back in place,” Rymes said.

The expected day for repairs to be done was Thursday, April 25.

“I don’t expect any repeats of the clogged drain because the pipe has been replaced,” Rymes said. “All we are concentrating on now is restoring the sidewalk surface and getting the lawn put back in place. We’ve got a couple of different pieces of sidewalk we’re gonna pour and have ready for commencement.”

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

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