Campuswide hot-water outage expected to be fixed by Friday morning

The hot-water outage started Monday afternoon and is set to end by Friday morning. In the meantime, students are encouraged to visit The Rec and The Fit to take hot showers. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Ready or not, student residents across campus are bracing themselves for a cold shower as residence halls, as well as several other buildings, experience a hot-water outage.

The outage, which started Monday afternoon, is being repaired by USF Facilities Management. It originally planned to restore the water system by Wednesday morning, however, while repairing the pipe Tuesday afternoon another leak was found, according to Associate Director of Communications for Administrative Services Aaron Nichols.

USF Housing and Residential Education announced in an email Wednesday an unexpected leak on the supply line, resulting in a further delay. Hot water is expected to be restored by Friday morning, according to the email.

Around 72 buildings, including residence halls and administrative offices, have been impacted by the outage. The water inside buildings still remains safe to drink and use, but only under cold temperatures, according to a Housing and Residential Education email.

The campus’ water system is served by boilers and chillers as well as underground pipes that source buildings with hot and cold water. The outage of hot water was caused by a leak in the east-west loop, which serves approximately half of the campus, according to Nichols.

“There’s just a leak in that loop in the pipe,” Nichols said. “And I mean, that happens, [there] wasn’t anything wrong, it’s just like in your house, sometimes you get a pipe and it leaks [as they get] old. 

“We’re working on that now in order to effectively fix it, they need to let the water drain out as you can imagine a loop that serves that much of campus has a lot of water and we basically just been waiting for the water to drain out of that loop.”

If students aren’t willing to take a cold shower, they’re encouraged to visit The Rec or The Fit for hot water from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., respectively. Students will need to bring their own towels and toiletries as well as their USF ID to use the facility. Face coverings are encouraged.

Hot water from the taps, however, has a separate infrastructure and has not been affected by the outage. Nichols said the impact on space heating results in the water being a “little cooler” than usual in the buildings affected. 

“Stuff like this happens, I have to really point to our facilities management team for being on top of stuff and getting out there and [repairing the] affected as quickly as possible,” Nichols said.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Nichols said Facilities Management is set to have the leak repaired by the end of Tuesday and full service restored by Wednesday morning.