Soap in the fountain may be a student prank, but it’s costly to clean up, said Mark Salmon, director of Troy University’s physical plant.
“The damage to the fountain is not necessarily damage, so much as it is a nuisance,” Salmon said. “It’s a waste of time to have to go back in there and treat the water and clean the fountain. ”
Salmon said that soaping the fountain may come at the expense of the students involved.
“I think that there’s an effort out there to create the expectation that when this happens the students are going to be responsible for the maintenance and the upkeep of (the soaping).”
Salmon said that he believes that knowing the results of soaping the fountain can help students avoid possible penalties and consequences.
“What we’re hoping is that by creating awareness we can show that what seems to be a simple prank does have a price,” Salmon said. “The price is time and the price is money.”
The dollar cost of cleaning the fountain was not available from the physical plant.
This is not the first time that students have soaped the fountain.
To clean the fountain, “we have to do a little chemistry,” Salmon said. “We put a defoamer into the water, which will revitalize the conditions that create the suds. Once that’s done, we have to go back in and make a determination of whether or not we’re going to have to drain the fountain.”
Salmon said that, in the past, not having such science available caused the soaping pranks to “shut down the fountain for a couple of days.”
“We’ve gotten a little more efficient now in terms of what we’re doing, so we can save a lot of time.”
“We hope that we can discourage those who do like to do these things from doing them,” he said. “That way we are able to stay on course to keep up with all the things we need to be doing on campus.”