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Water main break floods area surrounding Center for Computing and Data Sciences construction site, causes water supply shutdown

man walks through flooding at boston university
A water main break led to flooding outside the Center for Computing and Data Sciences construction site Wednesday, forcing Boston Water and Sewage Commission employees to shut off the water supply to two nearby buildings. SAMUELE PETRUCCELLI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

A water main break on the construction site of the Boston University Center for Computing and Data Sciences caused flooding in the area shortly before 12 a.m. Wednesday.

Members of the BU Police Department and BU Facilities, as well as the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, responded to the scene shortly after.

BUPD Sergeant Daryl Bourgeois, one of the officers who arrived to help monitor the situation, said the police were notified shortly after it occurred.

“I don’t know what time it started flooding,” he said. “We got calls around 11:30.”

Speaking at 12:45 a.m Thursday, Bourgeois said there had not yet been any effect in the water mains at Warren Towers and other nearby buildings.

Bourgeois said the break “caused some flooding onto the street,” and there was not much to be done in the immediate aftermath.

“The water’s been shut off,” Bourgeois said. “That’s all we can do right now.”

BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email rising temperatures could be a potential cause for the incident.

“Water main breaks seem to occur when the weather warms,” Riley wrote.

To fix the break, Riley reported by morning, BWSC workers “had to shut off the water to two adjacent buildings as well, Sargent [College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences] and the Stone Science building.”

The Sargent building remained closed Thursday as BWSC worked to fix the break and BU Facilities handled cleanup in the area.

“The Dean of Sargent decided, because of the need for the water, et cetera, just to close for the day,” Riley said Thursday evening. “It’s been replaced, the broken section, and should be back within the hour.”

The Stone Science Building, located within the larger College of Arts and Sciences building, was connected to a different water source by morning, which resulted in that section of the building remaining open.

Riley said he doubted the break would cause significant delay to progress on the construction of the new building, which is projected to be completed by October 2022.

“They just pump the water out and proceed as they were,” he said. “Essentially, they are just replacing pipe and cleaning out the area that had mud or debris or flooding.”

Some students living in brownstones — located one block behind the construction site on Bay State Road — noticed the flooding as well as flashing lights and came outside to see what had happened.

CAS junior Grace d’Eustachio, a resident of 176 Bay State Rd., said she was worried about the flooding reaching the basement of her building.

“It’s definitely from the construction,” she noted.

She said she had spoken with a BUPD officer who told her they were trying to shut off the water, but other than that, d’Eustachio said she did not know much else.

“I hope no one was hurt, honestly,” d’Eustachio said.

College of Engineering junior Will Armstrong — a first-floor resident of 214 Bay State Rd., located directly behind the construction site — said despite his building’s proximity, he and his roommates were not greatly concerned.

“We’re not too worried about it,” Armstrong said. “We checked out our neighbors in the basement, they seem to be doing all right.”

Riley said the water main breakage was not a serious issue, and BU typically handles similar flooding often.

“We’re very good at cleaning up water spills on campus, getting in the drying equipment within buildings, et cetera, if that’s needed, but in an outside site it’s not uncommon,” he said. “They just pump it out.”

Vanessa Bartlett contributed to the reporting of this article.

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