Clark College experienced a brief water scare on the morning of April 13 when an accident at a nearby city water facility caused water pressure to drop around campus and the surrounding areas.
Tim Petta, Clark’s director of Facility Services, said the incident started around 7 a.m. and caused minor problems, particularly in north campus buildings like Gaiser Hall and the Penguin Union Building. Petta said Clark reached out to the city’s Public Works Department to fix the problem.
“Water pressure was restored and all alarm systems were back to normal by 9:45 [a.m.]” Petta said.
Petta said the lack of drinking water and functioning restrooms during the incident raised faculty concern, especially regarding the childcare center and early learning facilities, “There were concerns that they would have to close down the childcare facility,” Petta said.
While Petta said the issue was relatively minor and quickly fixed, he noted that it was a rare problem; “this hasn’t happened in 35 years, at least.”
Brook Porter, an outreach coordinator for Vancouver’s Public Works Department, explained that the drop in water pressure was “[connected] with work on Water Station 1,” a 25-acre facility north of the college which supplies around one-fourth of the city’s potable water.
Porter said that contractors working for the city were removing old piping in order to connect a new water line when they accidentally drained water from a reservoir tank, causing the drop in pressure. Porter said that, luckily, the event was “pretty localized,” and that only the area directly around the facility was affected.
Porter said the current renovations are part of a larger plan developed in 2006 to replace aging equipment and overhaul the facilities at Water Station 1, and construction isn’t finished yet. “We’re always trying to analyze our facilities to make them more efficient.”
After this incident, and considering the proximity of Water Station 1 to Clark, Porter said that the city Public Works Department plans to coordinate with the college to notify Clark if any future incidents occur.