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Broken toilet valve floods part of UND residence hall

A broken bathroom flush valve displaced some UND residence hall dwellers early Wednesday morning when it began gushing water in Selke Hall.

Mark Johnson, UND facilities director of operations and maintenance, said the valve sprung a leak sometime after 1 a.m., soaking the bathroom and the immediate residential suite area that surrounded it. The water also spread into a common area and eventually trickled down through the floor into two rooms on the level directly below the leak.

Johnson said cleanup began immediately after facilities responded to the break. The displaced students worked with UND housing representatives and found alternative places to stay while the area is being returned to its less-soggy state.

Johnson estimates it'll take about 2-3 weeks of work to get the rooms to that point. After the initial cleanup, maintenance crews began a dehumidifying process to remove the remaining moisture. Once that's done, Johnson said they'll do some light reconstruction.

That work will include some small-scale repair of ceiling material and a set of floor tile replacements. In the chance that any of those tiles contain asbestos, Johnson said facilities crews will have to first go through an abatement process before any new tiles can be placed.

He added that facilities workers are trained each year to prevent and remediate mold growth, which can pose a lingering concern following water damage. Selke Hall had an earlier issue with water this year when an air conditioning unit sprung a small leak that eventually dripped through a floor into the room below.

Johnson said that earlier leak was minimal compared to this week's busted flush valve. He said incidents like this most recent leak "happen more often than you'll ever know."