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One Pipe Steam - What Is This?

I'm currently troubleshooting a one-pipe steam system in Manhattan. I came across what seems to be some sort of a loop seal to return condensate. The building has an 8" express steam main that goes up to the top of the apartment builidng and downfeeds various risers. At the bottom of the express main is a 1-1/4" pipe that is piped to the wet return through what looks to be a loop seal i'm just not sure why it is done this way. The pipe passes a tee which would allow water to go directly into the wet return, however there is a closed valve on this line forcing the condensate to flow through the loop seal which appears to go through the floor and then back up again in uninsulated pipe. The pipe then turns toward the door at about a 6-foot elevation and goes through the wall near the door. The pipe then turns down and tie's into the wet return. Any Ideas? I have never seen anything like this.

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