Flooding leads to wide-spread problems on campus

A blown water line, a flooded parking lot and water intrusion were three of several incidents on campus as a result of flooding Sept. 17.
“Monday night was not a typical rain event,” Jack Butler, associate vice president for facilities and business services, said.
According to data from www2.tntech.edu/earth/wx_station.htm, the online weather station produced by the department of earth sciences, Tech accumulated 5.59 inches of rain by midnight.
“It was Murphy’s Law at its best,” Butler said of the rain event. “It’s the uncontrollable things that happen that really cause the event to be worse than it is.”
The Campus Fitness and Recreation Center was left without running water for several hours after pressure from the rainwater caused a city water line to blow.
The issue was fixed by 3 p.m. Sept. 18.
Tech recently removed the two northernmost tennis courts by the parking lot between the Hooper Eblen Center and Tucker Stadium.  Sept. 14, Facilities seeded and laid straw over the area.
Butler said rainfall washed the straw across the parking lot onto the storm drain, covering it. The consequential standing water left at least one vehicle partially submerged.
He said part of the issue was the watershed that fed into the parking lot’s low elevation.
“Even though I had 6 inches of rain and the straw covered up one of the drains, when you look at the surface area of that parking lot and you think of 6 inches of rain hitting at every square foot of that parking lot, it goes somewhere,” Butler said.
He said if the drain had not been covered, it would have been adequate for that amount of rainfall.
“The real issue was the students running around in four-wheel drives in the parking lot with their pickup trucks shooting rooster tails because they were flying through the parking lot driving past this car,” he said.
Tech posted messages via Twitter and Facebook Sept. 17 warning students and faculty to avoid the area.
“For the evening, please avoid the parking lot between Hooper Eblen and Tucker Stadium due to flooding. No other major issues related to flooding have been reported on campus,” Tech posted via Facebook at 8:36 p.m.
Campus police had no information about the damage to the submerged vehicle. No police report was filed.
Bartoo, Brown, Browning/Evins, Bruner, Cooper/Dunn, Ellington/Warf, Jobe/Murphy, Maddux/McCord, New Hall South and Prescott halls experienced water intrusion.
Butler said the majority of the rainwater flowed into the buildings from wheelchair ramps, while roof leaks were to blame for a few areas.
Facilities is upgrading the drains at the bottom of the ramps during building renovations.
Flooding in an elevator pit in New Hall South set off a fire alarm which evacuated residents into the rain. Residents were allowed back into their rooms when it was determined what caused the alarm to sound.
After two pumps failed to clear the pit, plumbers were called, and extra pumps were sent in to remove the water.