One of our mission clients noticed water on the floor in their below-grade cafeteria dining room. A thorough check of all predictable sources of water were ruled out until someone decided to check on their storage building next door. There they found to their horror water up to the top basement step! Over 80,000 cubic feet of water had swamped their boiler, electrical system and mechanicals, ruining the finished basement and all of the contents within. Once the city water supply was turned off at the street and all of the water pumped out it was realized that, in addition to the immediate water damage, there was now the matter of the asbestos pipe insulation that needed to be removed by a hazardous abatement contractor. Additionally, there was growth of mold due to moisture now imbedded in the walls and the lack of fresh-air circulation. The cause of the water intrusion was the mission-owned water supply line that ran through the basement foundation walls, under the public sidewalk and under the street. It broke outside the foundation wall and the water followed the pipe into the basement filling it like a swimming pool and eventually leaching through the conjoined basement wall into the mission’s cafeteria. The loss estimate quickly topped $1,000,000!
The problem with this situation is the inability for anyone to see, much less know, the condition of the pipe once it passed through the wall. What is the condition of your pipes that exist outside your building and run underground?
The mission’s mechanicals should be regularly inspected and upgraded as needed. Granted, this will not include excavating your outdoor plumbing, but the condition of what can be seen will at least be an indicator, to some degree, of what you cannot see, as well. Too often, the prevailing attitude is that there are so many priorities that have to be addressed at the mission on a daily basis, that unless and until a problem forces our attention, the important will be ignored to address the immediate. It is likely that there is a plumber and an electrician on your mailing list. If a request were to be included in your newsletter that the mission is looking for someone to inspect, and potentially upgrade, the mission’s electricals, plumbing and mechanicals, perhaps the time and money invested will save your mission the huge time and financial expense that our soggy mission client is being forced to endure.