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HCC campus closed after water system failure Tuesday

Harford Community College classes were canceled Tuesday afternoon after the majority of the college's wells failed, leaving about 80 percent of the Bel Air campus without water service.

HCC officials hope to have water service restored in time to open for classes Wednesday.

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Any class scheduled for after 12:30 p.m. was canceled, according to a notice posted on the college website. All evening events were canceled also, other than athletic events and the Who's Smarter Than a 5th Grader? event scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Chesapeake Center.

"On any given day there may be close to 10,000 to 13,000 students on our campus," Brenda Morrison, vice president for marketing, development and community relations at HCC, said. "As a result, we didn't have a way in which we could provide the necessary services, so the college closed for the day."

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The community college campus' water comes from a series of wells, and a septic system is used for sewer service.

The system failure started with the breakdown of the Joppa well because of mechanical issues. Morrison explained. The Joppa well serves the classroom building Joppa Hall, the Conowingo Center, which is used for physical plant services and the Forest Hill Building, home of early childhood education and adult day care center.

Morrison said campus staffers tried to tap into the other wells serving HCC.

"When we tried to do that, it basically shut down all of the wells that we have on our campus" other than the well serving HCC's Chesapeake Center, the Susquehanna Center and the student center, Morrison explained.

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"Because we do have water in the Chesapeake Center and the Susquehanna Center, we're able to hold our athletic competitions," she continued.

Morrison said the student center has minimal water service, but not enough to support food service, so the Globe Cafe was closed.

Morrison said staffers have identified the mechanical problems that caused the well failures.

"We think we have a solution to those problems, and we're optimistic at this point that we should be open [Wednesday] with a regular class schedule," she said.

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