Irrigation pressure spike caused geyser

By By Veronica Pineda

By Veronica Pineda

U officials have confirmed that the geyser seen near the dorms was a burst irrigation line.
Traffic along Fort Douglas Boulevard near Officer’s Circle vibrated the main water line under the street at the Officer’s Club, which weakened it over a long period of time. It was that weakness that allowed an already old and brittle pipe to break Friday morning.
The break in the main line sent a huge pressure spike to a newer irrigation line connected near the Chapel Glen building. The irrigation line broke under the pressure. With nowhere left to go but up, the line’s water shot up into the air, forming a more than three-story-high geyser of water by the Chapel Glen dormitories. The water line breaks set off the fire alarms in the Residence Halls, and affected the water pressure in several dorms.
Students waited outside for about 20 minutes, until U Facilities Management employees were able to stop the U’s personal Old Faithful.
Facilities Management built the irrigation line in 2000. It is relatively new compared to the main line,which was built more than 50 years ago, said Cory Higgins, director of plant operations. He said he’s dealt with very few breaks in the water pipes at the U, but one is likely to split every five years.
Facilities Management replaced the ruptured segment of the main line with a new 6-inch ductile pipe. The new pipe will be stable for years to come, Higgins said.