Beehive closes twice due to grease blockages

The Beehive closed Oct. 23-24 due to pipeline blocks from years of grease and other substances.

While originally the solution was to unclog the pipes of Stover that were causing the issue, it soon turned into replacing them, said Dr. Shari Payne, vice president for enrollment and the point person for fixing the blockages.

“The plumbers came in and were here over the weekend, but they weren’t able to get the clog out,” Payne said. “We brought in a different plumbing outfit to replace some pipes and while they were doing that we did not have the ability to have the Beehive open.”

Patterson’s All In One Plumbing came to Waynesburg University Wednesday and Thursday nights to clear out the clogs. 

“That pipe is old. You can see the corrosion because it’s metal,” said Nathan Patterson, owner of Patterson’s All In One Plumbing. “Well, that whole pipe is metal. So, all the soap, grease, everything ran for years caught into that rust and built up, and then it clogged.”

The blockages were noticed by liquid coming out of the floor drains in the Stover Campus Center. Closing the Beehive, they called the plumbing business to come out Wednesday night to fix the problem by feeding a hydro jetter through the pipe to the blockage. The metal pipe on the second floor of Stover leading from the Beehive was then replaced with PVC pipes. 

“We have special heads for it [and] 3,000 psi,” Patterson said. “The heads shoot [water] and eat all the greases, crumbs and all the stuff off the sewer pipes and washes it out. So, it breaks it into a million little pieces and sends it out to the mainline… I can cut roots the size of your thumb out with that… I’ve cut tree roots with that head right there.” 

The Beehive reopened Thursday morning but closed again in the afternoon. “Gurgling,” Patterson said, could be heard whenever toilets were flushed, signifying another block in the pipes. The university had to call the plumbers back to work another night. 

“Last night, we left and the grease… went out to the trap outside and clogged the mainline out there,” Patterson said.

While the plumbers worked to fix the problem, normal Beehive operations had to be suspended.

“We are so very sorry that this caused an inconvenience for the students,” Payne said. “We really don’t like to close down the Beehive if we don’t have to, but it was just a safety issue because they did not have access to the pipes and weren’t able to access the water.”

The university took steps to make up for the inconvenience to the students and are looking to take preventative action to make sure this doesn’t reoccur.

“To try to make up for it, we did offer extended hours in the dining hall for the folks who relied on the Beehive,” Payne said. “The issue should all be resolved, everything should be operating normally and we are looking at some long term solutions to make sure it doesn’t get clogged again.”