IMPE weight area reopens after pipe leakage

By Patrick Wade

The free weight area at the IMPE East Wing has finally been reopened after a week-long clean-up project closed the section.

The area of the gymnasium was closed for clean-up after a corrosive fluid, which had leaked from ceiling pipes, was discovered to have affected a large area of the facility.

Gary Miller, associate director of operations for Campus Recreation, said that the leak most likely occurred Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. The leak was not discovered until the following Monday.

The seepage happened after a water-glycol mixture, a solution similar to anti-freeze that is used to warm the air from the heaters at IMPE, corroded the threads on the pipes it was running through.

This is abnormal, Miller said, because there should not be any corrosive components to the fluid.

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Although Miller said that he is sure the fluid is non-toxic and will not harm IMPE patrons, the solution was sent to a University lab in order to figure out why the fluid corroded the pipes.

As of Friday, Campus Recreation still had not received the results of the test. Calls made to Miller on Sunday night were not returned.

The fluid and the corroded pipes have already been replaced.

Because the fluid is oil-based and impossible to remove from fabric, the carpet underneath the affected area was removed and replaced. The black rubber mats used to protect the floor from heavy weights had also been replaced and all the machines and weights were cleaned.

None of machines needed to be replaced, and only one was still unavailable Friday.

Peter Maraccini, freshman in Engineering who uses the weight room at IMPE as frequently as five times a week, said that this incident only added to his frustrations.

“This adds extra inconvenience since most of IMPE is already closed (due to construction),” he said.

Maraccini added that the alternatives on campus are very limited.

“CRCE doesn’t have a very well-stocked weight room,” he said. “Once IMPE is closed, I’m pretty much stuck.”

Some students did not find the closure inconvenient, but were rather scared by the notion of a corrosive fluid leaking.

“I just lifted on the other machines,” said Noell Ealey, freshman in LAS. “That’s really scary though.”

Ealey said that while she will continue going to IMPE three times a week, she was a little shocked to find out that a potentially harmful fluid was leaking at the facility.

Miller said, as of Friday, all of the necessary repairs have been made and IMPE patrons are in no danger. All that Campus Recreation is waiting for are the lab test results.

“By and large, we’re 99 percent back in business,” Miller said.