Aging infrastructure has struck again, this time at Coast Union High School, where an old pipe broke open overnight Thursday, Aug. 6. By the time employee Rocky Fordyce discovered the leak about 6 a.m. Friday, the break between the school’s office and gym had gushed out a substantial amount of water.
At press deadline, nobody knew yet exactly how much water had been lost, but everybody knew it was bad news during this, the fourth year of drought.
The school district may be facing surcharges for the leaked water, according to Jerry Gruber, general manager of the Cambria Community Services District, which provides drinking water to the school.
The high school’s irrigation water comes from an on-campus well owned and operated by the school district. CCSD has a contract with the school district for another on-campus well near Leffingwell High School, a well that supplies the community with water from the Santa Rosa Creek watershed.
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Justin Smith, supervisor of CCSD’s water department, estimated that the school had used about 250 units of water during the past month. A unit is 748 gallons.
The school’s two-month average use during the May/June billing period of the past three years was 214 units, according to CCSD’s Finance Manager Patrick O’Reilly. Students were in school during most of those time periods.
Lee Wight, director of Coast Unified School District’s support services and groundskeeping division, said the leak’s cause was an “old pipe that just gave up.” He said if an emergency like that happens “during the normal course of the day, we’re right on it, and even on weekends. But this one was in the middle of the night.”
Wight said a Potter Plumbing crew completed the repairs on the day the leak was discovered.