Dated pipes lead to a campus fire watch

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A fractured water line north of Nealley Library put the campus on fire watch.
The pipe was repaired Wednesday evening, ending the fire watch that lasted about an hour.

CAMPUS:

District officials are concerned with the campus’ aging plumbing system after a broken water line left fourteen buildings without fire sprinklers Jan. 30.

Construction workers arrived Wednesday morning to repair what was initially a water leak south of the S Building and north of Nealley Library.

A fire watch was initiated Wednesday evening when workers discovered that a fire water line was the cause of the leak. The pipes were repaired in under an hour, workers said.

The fire watch ended at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A security officer walked the buildings once an hour and inspected for signs of a fire, as required by state fire code when fire alarm systems are malfunctioning.

“We dedicated one officer solely to walk the buildings and survey them for signs of fire,” said Lt. James Wooley, the district safety and security supervisor.

Construction workers said the break in the line was the result of a stress fracture in the pipe.

These types of breaks have no singular cause, a worker said.

Breaks will continue to happen in the future until the original pipes are replaced, a representative from KDC Construction said.

College President Erlinda Martinez said the 60-year-old pipes are an issue at Santa Ana College, but plans to allocate a portion of Measure Q funds to the problem.

Rough estimates to replace the infrastructure range between $20 million and $40 million, said Peter Hardash, vice president of business operations and fiscal services.

“There’s no way of telling how often the pipes will break,” said Wooley, who recalled a number of domestic water lines that have broken throughout the years, including one in August that left campus restrooms nonfunctional days before the fall semester.

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“It’s not shiny or glamorous like a new building,” said Martinez, “but the infrastructure needs work.”

A fractured water line north of Nealley Library put the campus on fire watch.
The pipe was repaired Wednesday evening, ending the fire watch that lasted about an hour.

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