Memo: From bad to worse in building 4 laundry room

Earlier this week, the laundry room in building 4 (sections K, L, and M) was closed due to an underground leak. A notice said that cooperators should expect the room to be closed for the week. This afternoon, management sent an email to cooperators in building 4 to say that the work needed is more extensive than originally anticipated:

April 30, 2015



Dear East River Cooperators:

Last week I sent out a memo in which I notified you that the laundry will be closed for one week because the main 15″ drain line was cracked inside and outside the building. When we dug up the line inside the building we found that all six drain lines in the laundry room and in the floor drains were broken.

These lines are connected to the washing machines and the sinks of the apartments above, so we had to dig up the entire laundry room to replace all of them. In the meantime, you can use the laundry rooms in other buildings. The job went from one leak to nine leaks. These pipes are around 60 years old.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to reopen the laundry room for at least another two weeks because after having repaired the pipes we must replace all the sand, pour the concrete and wait for the concrete to dry.

The building will also need a full water shutdown on Tuesday, May 5, from 8:30A.M. to 8:30P.M., because we must empty the drain lines before we replace them.

I am sorry for this major inconvenience but I could have not anticipated what the problem would be until we exposed each of the lines. I want to make sure that we will not have to revisit the issue. Therefore, all the underground lines must be replaced.

Again, I am truly sorry.

If I may add just a bit of editorializing:

A burst pipe is no one’s fault, and it’s not uncommon, in the course of fixing one problem, to uncover more problems that need to be addressed. But to say that no one could have anticipated the nature of the problem is odd when the problem was just identified two paragraphs above: “These pipes are around 60 years old.”

The coop’s annual financial report routinely includes a note by the auditors that East River has not conducted any study of the costs of future repairs and replacements. When asked specifically at last year’s annual meeting about the buildings’ elevators and roofs (which are beyond their expected lifecycle already) and the 60-year-old plumbing, General Manager Harold Jacob answered that he anticipated nothing beyond normal upkeep over the next 10 years.

And early this month we learned that the coop is now seeking a $5 million line of credit for “anticipated repairs and maintenance.”

So what is anticipated? What can’t be anticipated? I can’t keep track, can you?

Maybe a study of the costs of future repairs and replacement isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Update, with photos:

Construction vehicles behind building 4.
Construction vehicles behind building 4.
Laundry room in building 4 is closed.
Laundry room in building 4 is closed.