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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Rez opens after week-long closure due to Campus Center plumbing issues

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Students wait in line at the Rez on Oct. 9.

The Rez, the student-run café located in the Mayer Campus Center, was closed from Sept. 21–27 due to plumbing issues in the Campus Center, according to Bryce Terman, the financial manager for the Rez. 

Terman, a senior, discovered the problem at the end of his Sept. 20 shift. When counting out the daily revenue, he found unclean water in the sink and on the floor.

“It was the excess of what I expected because the crew has already left and [the Rez] is usually spotless when we leave for the night,” Terman said.

Terman responded by calling Tufts Facilities Services to ask for help in cleaning, but when more water flooded, he realized that there might be a plumbing issue. He contacted the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) and was put in contact with an on-call plumber to explain the situation. 

Noah Harris, a senior and the personnel manager for the Rez, notified employees on Sept. 21 that the Rez would shut down for a few days.

Terman said that Facilities Services came the next day and cleaned the Rez.

While the plumbing issue was fixed over the weekend of Sept. 22–23, the Rez still needed to be recertified by an inspector from the Somerville Board of Health to reopen, according to Terman. Ensuring that water was only coming in from the clean water side was a major hurdle the café had to pass.

"Out of precaution, we have to clean everything and make sure that our appliances are okay as well," he said.

The Facilities Services report noted a 125-foot clog in the main drain of the Mayer Campus Center, Associate Director for Campus Life Ashley Austin said. An outside plumbing company then came in to snake the drain. Facilities Services believes the issue was caused by people flushing things that should not be flushed, like paper towels.

The health inspector carried out an examination of the premises on Sept. 24, according to Sara Bass, a senior and operations manger for the Rez. Everything was in order, except the managers were told to clean everything that might have been touched by contaminated water and certify the ice machine, Terman said.

“[We needed] to make sure that none of the dirty water could come into the ice machine,” he said.

Terman added that the managers cleaned the Rez after the health inspector left and the ice machine was inspected and certified on Sept. 26. The health inspector did a final inspection on Sept. 27, re-certified the Rez and the café reopened immediately.

Austin was in frequent contact with the managers throughout the whole process and noted the appropriate steps were carried out.

The Rez managers made initial contact with the health inspector, met with the inspectors in-person and carried out the deep-cleaning efforts while Austin ordered the facility cleaning and scheduled the health and ice machine inspections.

Harris, who has been working at the Rez for the past two years, recalled that the Rez was also shut down two years ago because of a refrigerator malfunction. The refrigerator was not maintaining a proper temperature and the Rez was closed until a new refrigerator was ordered and arrived.

“We are lucky that issues like this that require us to close for multiple days don’t happen that often," Harris said. "Usually, things are pretty minor, so it’s a rare circumstance that we have to close for about a week.”