A contractor hired by Enterprise Services will begin work March 23 to repair an underground steam pipe near the southeast corner of the Insurance Building that is venting steam into the air.
The escaping steam, while highly visible, does not contain any harmful fumes or gases. It is, however, very hot — about 210 degrees — where it is leaking from the manhole.
As a safety precaution, the department has placed a six-foot-tall, plywood "chimney" around the manhole to direct the steam into the air.
The department in the afternoon of March 22 shut off the steam to cool the pipe in advance of the repairs.
The steam pipe provides heat to the Newhouse Building. The Capitol Campus powerhouse, the building with the tall smokestack next to Capitol Lake, produces steam used to heat buildings on the west Capitol Campus.
There will no heat in the Newhouse Building while the repair work is underway. Heat to the building should be restored by early March 25.
A pinhole-sized leak first developed in the steam pipe about a week ago. The heat, not steam pressure, caused the leak to grow.
Repairs are complicated by 17-inch-wide opening of the manhole, which is directly above the leak. The manhole was installed in 1938.
The ADA ramp near the steam leak will remain closed until repairs can be completed. There is an ADA entrance on the northwest side of the building.
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