A smelly situation

Students forced to exit class due to suspected gas leak


Photo by Cameron Murry

Mrs. Martin’s students in the Math and Science building sit outside of class. There was a suspected gas leak that was caused by sewage water evaporating from the pipes in the sinks of the science classrooms.

Story by Victoria Van and Jhovany Perez

During third period, students were rushed out of their classes in the Math and Science building due to a suspected gas leak. Consequently, sewage gas was released through pipes in the sinks of the science classrooms.

“Sewer gas came up through the pipes and the sinks because they haven’t been used for a long time,” associate principal Richard Stahl said. “[The pipes] weren’t being used all during the summer. When the air conditioner, heating, and ventilation were turned on, it sucked up gas through the sewer lines.”

Even though the gas leak was harmless, safety precautions were taken to ensure students’ safety by examining the utilities in the classroom. 

“The gas has been turned off to the building. There is no gas coming to the building. The gas wasn’t turned on, we checked all the jets and everything and they were all off. We have emergency buttons that have all been turned off as well.”

Maintenance described the reasoning behind why the foul smell reached the classrooms in the first place.

“It usually happens a lot more when you go from summer to winter. The air conditioning is off and the heating is on because [the pipes] sucks it up. The ventilation sucks up air through the sewer lines at the bottom of the school or even at your house. That’s why when you turn that heat on, you get a funny smell right away.”

Plumbing traps ensure that water acts as a barrier in the pipe to make sure sewage gas does not escape out into the air.

“[If ] the plumbing trap [goes unused], the water in it will evaporate out,” maintenance worker Scott Stilson said. “Underneath the sink is a plumbing trap. When that dries out, allows sewer gas to come up. So we just turned on all the sinks to fill the plumbing trap back up.”

Maintenance turned on all of the sinks to ensure the sewage gas is released from the pipes and water is replaced in the plumbing trap. Students were eventually sent back into their classrooms.