Maintenance done on university sewers after back up

Several unflushable items have caused a repetitive clog in the sewer system

Last week, students might have noticed a red maintenance truck at the intersection of West College Street and North Washington Street on campus. Waynesburg Borough sent the truck to clear a clog in the sewer line that runs down West College Street.

While the clog is an uncommon occurrence, Terry Sattler, director of Facilities Planning and Management, said it happens once every year since he has been director at Waynesburg University.

“We have the same [problem] at least once a year,” said Sattler. “I’ve been here six years and we have had it every year I have been here.”

Since the clog was on the main sewer line, Sattler said, the issue falls into the hands of the Waynesburg Borough.  When the borough unclogged the line, Bryan Cumberledge, assistant manager to the borough manager, said the reason for the clog was because certain objects that are not supposed to be flushed down toilets were flushed. Sattler said a majority of what caused the clog was paper towels.

The clog, however, is getting worse. In past years, Cumberledge said, it takes an hour to unclog the sewer;his year it took two days. To prevent future clogs from becoming more troublesome, Cumberledge has an idea to fix this problem.

“The only idea we’re thinking is to do a preventative cleaning maybe every three to six months, so that if something starts to build up we can get it cleaned out before it becomes a clog,” said Cumberledge.

The university will respond, Sattler said, by having toilet seat covers available in more bathrooms across campus.

“We do have toilet seat covers in the [Eberly Library] currently, and we are going to put them in Buhl [Hall] shortly,” said Sattler. “And we will probably start that and it will just be part of an expansion.”

While unclogging the sewer, a new problem arose according to Cumberledge, who is not sure exactly what the problem is. He does however, have an educated guess as to what the problem could be.

“The old sewer lines are Terracotta and they are two-foot joints put together back in the early 1900’s,” said Cumberledge. “Sometimes, roots get in the cracks and things like that shift a little bit and offset. So there may be some sewer irregularities in the line. But I think a lot of it is contributed to things that are flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t be, like paper towels and stuff like that.”