The water main serving the Usdan Student Center, Pearlman and Goldfarb and Farber Libraries broke on the morning of Jan. 27, damaging the surrounding sidewalk but leaving other Brandeis facilities untouched, according to a Thursday email to the Justice from Vice President of Campus Operations Lois Stanley.

On Tuesday, the University’s contractor PW Ryan Co found a crack in the main approximately six feet underground and “put a large clamp over the pipe to seal the crack,” Stanley wrote in the email.

Soon after the leak was detected, Facilities Services cordoned off the walkway between Goldfarb and Usdan with orange construction cones and caution tape as water began to pool in the area. The entrance to Usdan nearest to the walkway was also barricaded from the inside by a trash bin and caution tape. These measures were in place “so that the crew and vehicles needed for the repair could work a safe distance from pedestrians,” Stanley wrote. Pedestrian access to the walkway was restored by Wednesday.

Stanley alerted the community to the leak in an email on Monday afternoon. In the email, Stanley told community members that Facilities Services was investigating “the extent and cause of the leak” and that work would continue through Tuesday. She also urged community members to “take care to observe signs cordoning off areas that are part of that work” and said that she would provide updates on any potential impact the repairs would have on Brandeis facilities. 

Although minimal repairs were needed, Stanley wrote in her email that the crew was prepared for “more complex situations that may have required water to be shut off to the four serviced buildings.” She credited Associate Director of Campus Services Joe Realejo, the grounds crew and Facilities Services for their “thorough response” to the leak.

The University has previously dealt with the impacts of water main breaks, including a pipe rupture in Weston, MA, which left Brandeis without clean drinking water for several days in May 2010, but this is only the third main break to occur on campus, according to past Justice articles. In Jan. 2006, a water main burst and flooded the road near the Rabb steps, and in Jan. 2013, a main break on South Street caused flooding in the basement of the Joseph M. Linsey Sports Center.