Broken sewer line under Eastway causes concern


A restoration company is cleaning up a sewage leak in Fletcher Hall. The problem was initially reported in March. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Amanda Crumm

Belfor, a property restoration firm, was hired to remove solid waste and clean up Tuesday after a sewage leak in a crawl space under Fletcher Hall was not properly dealt with, according to John White, associate director of facilities and administrative operations for Residence Services.

“We are aware [of] the possible sewage concern under Eastway complex,” said Kent Health Commissioner Jeff Neistadt in an email. “We are still in the process of determining the extent of the concern. KSU is working diligently to address the issue.”

White said students complained of an odor in Eastway after returning from spring break in March.

After informing University Facilities Management about the odor and after inspection, White said it was discovered that a sewer line had broken and sewage had leaked into the crawl space, causing the odors in Eastway.

White said University Facilities Management informed him that the leak had been repaired and the site had been properly cleaned.

Two months later, however, when wires were being installed for cable television in Eastway, White said it was discovered that the solid waste that had leaked out into the crawl space had not been removed.

White said University Facilities Management informed him the protocol was to pour lime over the waste but not to remove it.

After discussing the proper protocol with Dennis Baden, Kent State’s Environmental Health and Safety manager, White said Baden recommended the solid waste should be removed before spreading the lime on the ground.

White said he then contracted Belfor to remove the solid waste and spread lime onto the ground to kill any remaining bacteria.

University Facilities Management assistant director Robert Winkler said the department offered to hire a remediation company in March to provide a more thorough cleanup process, but White denied the offer.

White disagreed and said there was not a recommendation from University Facilities Managment to hire an outside company.

Winkler said there is no waste remaining in the crawl space, and that the sewage has dried up and turned into soil.

White said the issue is expected to be completed Tuesday and that hiring Belfor will cost Residence Services $3,000.

Baden recommended that University Facilities Management revise their protocol to remove solid waste in the future.

Contact Amanda Crumm at

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