Clogged pipe causes ‘rotten’ smell in GSC



The Gilbert Science Center (GSC) smelled like rotten eggs the last few weeks, but neither the chemistry nor biology department is to blame.

“The smell from the clogged drain incident was the rotten-egg smell of sulfide,” biology professor Paul Egland said. “All non-hazardous liquids are poured down the drain. The smell did not actually come from the drain, but it came from the sewer gas that came from the drain during the repair.”

Egland said the smell was not in direct association with either the biology or chemistry labs, and it was actually a “major clog” in the building’s plumbing that caused the stink.

“The water that goes down the sinks in the labs goes through non-reactive glass pipes to a neutralization system to prevent acid from going in to the city water line,” Egland said. “The pipe leading into the neutralization system was clogged, and when the plumbers took it apart to fix it, smell from the lines got into the labs.”

According to Brandon Gustafson, stock room manager and lab prep supervisor to the chemistry department, workers monitored the gasses to ensure that nothing was at a dangerous level.

“We’re going to be on top of anything dangerous,” Gustafson said.

Sophomore Alyssa Klimisch is taking Biology 233, and she said she is well aware of the precautions taken for the students’ and faculty’s safety.

“There is a range of chemical pHs that are allowed to be put down the drain … to be sure that these rules are followed, all of the TAs and professors are trained to know the regulations and help the students be responsible for what they are pouring down the drains,” Klimisch said, adding that it was “a bothersome, gross smell.”

The chemistry department is monitoring the smells and is prompt in dealing with any problems, whether by shutting down that lab or evacuating, according to Gustafson. He added that the new science center will have better hood vents and will be able to better control the smells, but they will not be able to get rid of them altogether.

“The smells are a part of our business,” Gustafson said.