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November 20, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy Related Electrical Damage

November 20, 2012


To the BMCC Community:

Today, November 20th, the Main Campus at 199 Chambers Street was affected by one of the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy. At 7:30 AM, the building was evacuated when our engineering staff discovered what appeared at first to be a serious steam leak and arcing of electricity in a basement area of the building. Later, Con Edison's Emergency Department’s field team determined that the college was actually affected by underground electrical conduits that had ruptured from exposure to salt water. That exposure and contact with the water was what created the steam.

In order to effect immediate repairs, the Chambers Street building had to be evacuated again at 9:45 AM in order to cut all electrical power to the flooded pit containing the ruptured electrical conduit. Once done, the salt water was pumped out and the ruptured electrical supply was cut and made safe. Once completed, we were able to reopen the building at 1 PM and full power and the IT network were restored throughout the entire building an hour later.

The college is receiving emergency repair assistance because this appears to be related to Hurricane Sandy's impact on all of Lower Manhattan and its subterranean and basement level electrical/mechanical vaults. Some of these vaults and pits are only being discovered now and today’s event at BMCC was one such example. The engineering consultant that will be onsite tomorrow will be performing the more long-term repairs to this particular electrical pit and we have requested that they perform additional tests around the perimeter of the college to determine if there are any other vulnerabilities that we should know about.

The BMCC community will be updated on our post-hurricane recovery effort, as we move forward. We apologize for the disruption that today's event may have caused.

President Perez
Antonio Pérez

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