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Sewage Closes Parts of Lamont

By Melanie A. Guzman and Julie M. Zauzmer, Crimson Staff Writers

The cafe and three bathrooms in Lamont Library are operational again after being closed Tuesday due to a sewage blockage.

The blockage, which occurred in a sewage line on Quincy Street next to Lamont, caused sewage to back up in a mechanical room on the second basement level in the library.

Lamont Cafe employees received an e-mail five minutes before the cafe was scheduled to open Tuesday afternoon, with a subject line punctuated with 15 exclamation marks, stating that the cafe would be “closed until further notice” and that they should not report to work.

Harvard College Library spokesperson Beth S. Brainard wrote in an e-mail that the cafe was closed in order to keep the cafe in compliance with health codes, which prohibit operating a food service establishment without running water for cleaning.

Although there was no food or beverage service, the seating area in the cafe was still bustling with studying students Tuesday. Eli A. Kozminsky ’14, who spent the evening in the cafe, said that students seemed unaware of why the food counter was not open.

“Some caffeine peeps were getting kind of feisty,” he said.

Three of the four bathrooms—all of the library’s restrooms except the women’s bathroom located on level B of the basement—were blocked off Tuesday with plastic sheets and thick blue tape.

Brainard said that the fourth restroom was able to remain open because it is serviced by a different sewage line.

Students who visited level B in Lamont yesterday, where the backup occurred, reported an unpleasant odor.

Emily S. Shire ’11, an inactive Crimson editor, described the smell on the second basement level as “like a horse’s stable, like manure.”

Brainard said that University Operations Services’ Environmental Health and Safety Unit conducted air quality testing and determined that the smell was not hazardous.

The City of Cambridge fixed the blockage on Quincy Street, and Lamont’s custodial staff cleared the blockage inside the library and disinfected the area.

­—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at

—Staff writer Julie M. Zauzmer can be reached at

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