Steam is distributed through a system of tunnels beneath the campus. Pipes in the tunnels transport steam throughout the main campus. Temperature of the pipes runs high as 300 degrees F. and therefore present a danger to anyone who is not trained to work in these tunnels.
Air temperatures reach as high as 180 degrees F. in some of the tunnels during normal operations. The temperatures are allowed to become high because complete ventilation would be a waste of heating energy.
The Physical Plant has a policy of never allowing a worker to negotiate a steam tunnel alone. Only experienced workers may service a steam tunnel. They must know where the exits are, where the access doors are, and have keys to get through these passages. Anyone not familiar with the tunnels runs the risk of being trapped in a dead-end or a passage blocked by a locked door. A person trapped in the tunnel faces serious consequences if a steam pipe ruptures and releases high pressure steam.
Because of building security, Physical Plant must lock access doors between the buildings and the tunnels to prevent unauthorized access. This creates a dangerous situation for anyone without keys. The Physical Plant therefore prohibits unauthorized persons in the tunnels.