Student Worker Helps Find Leaking Steam Vent

On July 30, 2010, Bill Budd, University of Illinois senior student in geology, participated in an informal temperature survey around a leaking steam vault on the Urbana campus. Working with Timothy Larson, geologist from the Illinois State Geological Survey Geophysics Section, and assisted by University facility and grounds staff, Budd measured the soil temperature in a series of holes on either side of the vault while steam puffed out of the manhole. The highest temperature measured in the survey was 199°F at a depth of 4 feet. Temperatures approached 180°F in several other holes. Later that day, Budd entered the data into a spreadsheet and created two color cross sections showing the distribution of temperatures around the vault and sent a report to the University. On the following work day, a work crew started to excavate the area and found that an obstruction in the drain to the vault was allowing hot water to accumulate. 

ISGS student Bill Budd, leftUniversity of Illinois work crew fix the problem.