During the afternoon, a sinkhole developed on High Street, on the road between 163 (Russian House) and 156 (Writer’s Block and WesWings). As a result, the street between the two buildings has been closed down and water is temporarily being shut off in each edifice.
According to Middletown Water Company Supervisor Devin Darley, the sinkhole was likely created by the blowing out of a paper gasket in a six-inch line.
“Well, during the day today, there’s a paper gasket in a six-inch line, that’s what we think blew out,” he said. “It created a hole in the road. We’ve got to dig it up and fix it. That’s pretty much about it.”
Darley continued to elaborate on the chaotic incident.
“So underground about four feet down is a main, a 12-inch main here, and it comes off a six-inch,” said Darley. “So what happens is where they’re joining, the gas is leaking. So [the Middletown Water Company] has to dig it all out.”
The supervisor noted that paper gasket failures are not uncommon and have happened before.
“We’ve had it before,” Darley said. “…It’s just time consuming. It [takes] like 8 to 10 hours [to fix]. We should be back online by then.”
Residents in both buildings were notified by their Resident Advisors that at 8:30 p.m. the water would be shut off until morning.Writer’s Block Resident Advisor Tesheia van der Horst ’19 said she was informed about the situation by her Area Coordinator at 7 p.m. From there, she let her residents know what was occurring.
“I contacted my residents by sending out an email, a Facebook message, and a few texts to make sure I could contact the most amount of people possible,” said van der Horst. “The email explained the situation and encouraged them to use the bathroom and grab water while they could.”
Will Bosha ’19, a resident of Writer’s Block, expressed his feelings about the lack of water for the night.
“It’s a real inconvenience to have no water,” said Bosha. “But I understand that they have to do what they have to do to fix the sinkhole.”
Although the issue is expected to be resolved by 11 a.m., it is still unclear whether or not WesWings will be open for brunch tomorrow.
This article will be updated with additional information as the story develops.