Tucker smell solved: sewage drain left open 20 years ago

For those students and faculty who frequent Tucker Hall, home of the English department, there is no denying that a less than pleasant smell has been hovering throughout the halls for quite some time.

“The most common complaint is the smell of sewage,” English department chair Jack Martin said in 2007.

Recently, the source of the odor was discovered. In the process of a heating, ventilating and air conditioning upgrade during a renovation some 20 years ago, one thing went unnoticed.

“As best we can determine, an old floor drain was left open when the building was renovated and the HVAC system upgraded many years ago,” Vice President for Administration Anna Martin wrote in an e-mail.

From that drain, the odor of sewage spread throughout much of the building due to complications with the ventilation system.

“The floor drain was actually in the air handling unit that was vacuuming sewer gas into the air stream,” Martin said.

Since the discovery, several steps to remedy the problem have been taken. According to Martin, the drain has been sealed and the air handling unit thoroughly cleaned.

Martin added that the planned future renovation of Tucker will “permanently correct” the problem. The renovation could take place as soon as 2010, she said.


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