The holes in the ground, the fences and the shifted car lanes
near the entrance to the Morgan Library parking lot are due to a
leak in a condensate pipe. Those pipes carry the water left over
after steam has heated a building.
“It’s just a normal repair, but it looks quite large because we
really don’t know where the leak is until we start digging,” said
Steve Hultin, utilities manager for Facilities Management. “We
decided to replace a large section of pipe to avoid having to go in
there again anytime soon.”
Another repair is underway on South Drive near Newsom Hall. A
small hole developed in the welding of a valve on a steam pipe,
which released so much heat it was killing the grass in the
Hultin said that in addition to repairing the leak, Facilities
Management is also installing a concrete vault that will allow them
to gain easier access to the new valve, which is why the project is
taking longer than it normal.
“We took the time to improve on what was there,” Hultin
These two repairs began in October, and Hultin expects they will
be completed by the end of November.
“What’s difficult about this type of repair is you don’t know
what you’re going to find,” he said. “We got in and it was worse
than we expected.”
Hultin said that while traffic may be more congested trying to
get into the library parking lot, Facilities Management works with
University Parking Services when doing repairs to ensure that
people can access the parking lots.
“I think the only thing is with pedestrians. The turn (into the
parking lot) is kind of sharp right now, and it’s really congested
with pedestrians and bikes,” said Kalisha Frazier, senior, social
Earlier this summer, another leak in a steam pipe in the same
area, near Braiden Hall, was repaired. Facilities usually repairs
two to three leaks per year, which is not very frequent considering
there are seven miles of underground steam and condensate piping on
campus, Hultin said.
Hultin also said facilities has plans to replace all of the
pipes before these kinds of leaks occur. Most of the pipes remain
in working condition for 20 to 50 years.
Leaks such as the ones on South Drive typically cost $15,000 to
$30,000 to repair.
Some smaller repairs can be completed for a few hundred dollars,
and the entire steam system, including the main plant and all of
the piping, is estimated at $30 million.