Facilities Services Prep Spares Campus from Spring Flooding
The early April flooding of the Willamette River in Corvallis that closed Highway 34 for three days was a glimpse at the wetlands that the Willamette Valley once was. Drone photos showed areas near the river completely submerged, and the research farms south of campus, such as Lewis-Brown, Botany and Vegetable Farms, had minor flooding. On the Corvallis campus, however, it was business as usual—the impact of the heavy spring rains was minimal due to proactive work by Facilities Services.
Heavy rain earlier in the year led to some damage around campus; mainly window well drains clogged with sludge and leaves which creates leaks when the water doesn't drain fast enough. After surveying the damage, the Work Coordination Center planned some preventative maintenance surrounding the areas usually affected by heavy precipitation: drains, stormwater systems and sump pumps used to keep water-collecting areas clear.
"We knew more rains were coming," said Joe Majeski, director of Facilities Services. "We tried to get ahead of it as much as we could."
In many of the repeat offender drain systems, Facilities Services installed inverted drain traps, designed to keep leaves and other matter from clogging the waterway. While many of the drain traps were purchased, there were a few that were made in-house by trades welders. Facilities Services recently invested in a jetter trailer, a machine designed to blast through blockages in drains and stormwater systems, and used it to clear the lines.
People resources were applied, as well. Facilities Service maintenance technicians monitored 10 of the campus flooding "hot spots" and were able to call in help if they saw a potential problem.
The April flooding in Corvallis could have caused major problems on campus. Thankfully, due to some forward thinking and planning, campus operations were as reliable as ever.