University forced to rip up new landscape to repair pipe

The leaking pipe was found near the “Prey vs. Predator” iron artwork outside Walter Stiern Library.The leaking pipe was found near the “Prey vs. Predator” iron artwork outside Walter Stiern Library.

Across its campuses California State University has adopted many different water conservation methods due to the drought, but CSU Bakersfield has recently had some rotten luck on that front.

One of the new features that has recently been installed, a water-wise demonstration garden outside the Walter Stiern Library, had to be torn up in order to find and fix an underground leak.

Ecology students had been using the conversion from turf grass to xeriscaping to study the relationship between the sustainability of water resources and vegetation.

“It was heartbreaking to have to tear up the brand-new landscape, but it could not be helped,” Paula Bray, director of facility operations, told The Runner.

The university was aware of the leak for a week before it was located by a landscaper. The leaking hot water line was found on the south side of the library on Feb. 5.

“The pipe that cracked was located 10 feet below grade-ground level,” Bray said. “The area where the leak occurred is on a hillside about 10 feet above grade, so altogether they had to dig down around 20 feet.”

After the landscaper confirmed the location of the leak with heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians, two valves had to be turned off. That left the library without heat while a plumbing crew began work Feb. 8 that continued for days.

The pipe was found and replaced and landscapers have now begun to replace the destroyed water-wise garden.

“We are working with the landscape contractor who did the original installation to provide us with a proposal to reinstall the landscape to the original specifications,” Bray told the university newspaper. “We removed as many of the recently installed plants as we could and have kept them alive during the repair process to minimize the total cost for the reinstallation of the landscape.”

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