The entire water supply to LMH was cut off on Friday morning following a burst pipe which threatened to flood the college.
Students and staff were notified by email that from 10am Thames Water would be shutting off their normal supply to college kitchens and bathrooms. Emergency toilet facilities were put in place for students, who were urged to be careful about using the water which remained in the system.
The first signs of a leak had appeared on Thursday morning, outside the entrance to the Deneke building. College maintenance teams spent the day trying to identify its source and to shut off the water supply to that area of the College alone, but without success.
Fearing that the water would damage College buildings, a temporary pump and piping system were set up to channel water away from the area and into a separate drain.
Although the temporary diversion was successful in halting the flooding of the area around the Deneke building, it became clear that since it was not possible to turn off the water supply to the specific location of the problem, water to the whole College would have to be cut off.
The move was deferred until mid-morning on Friday to allow students to wash and eat breakfast, and lunch services also remained unaffected. The water was turned back on at 3pm after the problem had been located and successfully dealt with.
Although first thought to have been caused by the ongoing building work at LMH, the leak was in fact found to have been caused by a 6-inch crack in an old lead pipe.
LMH were keen to stress that water had at no point entered College buildings. Jake Leeper, LMH’s JCR Vice-President commented, “It was good to hear that no student rooms, or staff offices, were affected by the leak, and that we were able to make sure that students were not without water for a long time. This is part of the nature of the charm of Oxford’s older buildings, they come with old infrastructures and sometimes these can have their negative sides. We were lucky that the situation didn’t develop into something much worse and I hope that the college will work to identify any further potential dangers for the future.”