The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 3:46 p.m.

Flooding becomes latest problem to plague Grove housing complex

One more thing can be added to the the ongoing issues that continue to plague The Grovehousing complex in Orono: flooding.

On Wednesday, a number of tenants complained of flooding in their first-floor apartments. According to the Bangor Daily News, this was caused by the snowmelt runoff.

“Melting snow resulted in water pooling around the back area of seven townhouses,” said Jason Chudoba, the Campus Crest spokesman who responded to the BDN. “Falling temperatures at night caused the water to freeze, creating an ice dam that prevented the water from dissipating. As a result, water seeped into those seven units.”

One unit that was affected was that of third-year microbiology student Kirsty Moriarty. Moriarty said she woke up to find water running underneath the unit’s refrigerator.

“I went to the clubhouse and said there’s some water in my apartment, and they said, ‘OK we’ll call it in,’” Moriarty said. “I came back, and my roommate was emptying all the food from our pantry because it had been soaked. [My roommates] had to move the TV from across the room because the carpet was soaking up water. You could see the water pouring out. It took maintenance almost three hours to get there and clean up. It was seeping through the walls.

“I’ve seen basements flood, and fraternity houses flood and old buildings flood, not brand new apartment complexes,” she said.

Moriarty said a number of large dehumidifiers were brought in to soak up some of the dampness, but she is seriously questioning her decision to re-sign her lease.

“The construction in the whole place is just absolutely terrible,” she said. “They said it’s from all the rain and melting we’ve had, but what’s going to happen when it all melts?”

Moriarty admits the flooding is the first physical problem with her apartment, but she’s still troubled by a November electric bill that totaled $920. Each apartment is allowed a $30 stipend per tenant for electricity. Any time an apartment exceeds that allowance, tenants are responsible for the overages. When asked if she thinks she and her three roommates used $920 worth of electricity, she responded “absolutely not.”

“All my roommates have boyfriends; I’m really the only one who really stays there,” Moriarty said. “We keep the heat on at 65 [degrees]. We’re conscious about that. We actually care about our electricity consumption. A $920 electric bill, how does that even happen?”

Moriarty said that she was employed at The Grove for two weeks before leaving.

“I realized it was the most unprofessional work environments I have ever been in,” she said. “The [community ambassadors] are very good at their job, but there is a lack of communication between the management and the residents. The kids at the front desk deal with all the issues and angry residents. It’s not fair.

“I was never officially trained,” Moriarty continued. “All I ever learned was that if someone called to speak to the general manager — regardless of if he’s out of the office or standing right next to me — he’s not available.

“I felt bad trying to sell leases to people,” Moriarty said.

Moriarty said she is meeting with management on Monday to work out her lease. According to Moriarty, getting out of a signed lease requires a little more than she feels is necessary.

“I’m worried because I already signed up for my lease next year, and to get out of it you need to pay $500 plus have someone to take it over for you,” she said. “I just flat out refuse to pay that. I think that’s terrible. I can’t believe people are trying to live here.”

The flooding issue is the latest for the troubled 620-tenant apartment complex, which houses mostly college students. In late January, multiple power outages plagued the complex when heating pipes below the apartments froze, causing the electric transformers to overload. Two days later, more complaints of mold and mildew surfaced, but town of Orono officials confirmed no cases of mold.

In mid-September, the first reports of mold cropped up from tenants in addition to shoddy finishing work throughout the complex. This was just three weeks after the complex played host to a raucous party that caused a stronger security presence at The Grove.