Sub-zero temperatures burst water pipes in 35 buildings “and counting” at Wright-Patterson and will cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to repair and to clean up the damage, according to the base authorities.
The region was plunged into sub-zero temperatures Monday and Tuesday with double digit wind chills that caused the base to close on Monday and delay work start times by three hours Tuesday.
The burst water pipes caused the most damage in the acquisition management complex in Area B, forcing some workers to telecommute, said Ted Hecht, deputy base civil engineer. Water spilled into hallways and stairwells, he said.
“There were multiple breaks in that complex” that will take “months to recover from,” he said.
Other areas across the base should be repaired within days, he said.
Burst water pipes also caused a one-day closure of a child care center, and closed the civilian personnel office, the Wright-Patterson Club and Banquet Center and shut down a basketball court in a fitness center, among other impacts.
“(The water lines) freeze up and once it thaws out is when the water starts leaking,” Hecht said.
Two underground water mains also burst, said base spokesman Daryl Mayer.
Hecht said the worst prior outbreak of burst water pipes at Wright-Patterson occurred in the winter of 1978.