Art Building left without water due to repairs


Michael Santone / The Advocate

Plumbers Martin Campos (left) and Geovany Melendez (right) dig a 4-foot deep trench to repair the broken water pipe behind the Art Building on Monday.

By Michael Santone, Editor-In-Chief

Due to a break in an outside water main, the water has been temporarily shut off in the Art Building until repairs are complete.
The crack in the pipe occurred on Sunday around 10 a.m. and repairs were scheduled to be completed Monday afternoon, but as of presstime Tuesday morning the water remains off and the trench exposed.
“Whether it’s the Hayward Fault that goes through the campus, or the hills moving a little bit, it looks like it cracked the water main,” Contra Costa College Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. “These pipes are 60 years old and sometimes a small thing like a pebble can sit on top of the pipe and over time the vibration digs it in.”
The water main, which sits under the service road that leads behind the Art Building, was discovered gushing by Police Services Officer David Sano Sunday morning. He immediately notified King by phone.
Water had already begun flooding the empty Art Building before CCC maintenance came out to shut off the valve and stop it.
“I don’t think the water was on for a whole lot of time, but if it would have gone for another day it could have caused some serious damage,” King said. “Hopefully the cost to fix the pipe will be less than $5,000.”
Martin Campos from Jackson and Son Plumbing Company said they began assessing the area around 7:30 a.m. Monday before digging a four-foot-deep hole to the pipe.
“It won’t be much work to repair the pipe if everything goes as planned,” Campos said. “This happens often with older utility pipes and water mains, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
While faculty and staff were made aware of the situation through an email sent out by King on Sunday evening, students arrived at the Art Building to dribbles from water fountains and bathrooms with out of service signs advising them to use the Music Building rest room.
Media and fine arts department Chairperson Anthony Gordon said these types of things happen, but as long as it’s being taken care in an efficient manner — that’s all that matters.
“We’re pretty resourceful here in the art department,” Gordon said. “It’s a hassle to go back and forth to the bathroom, but I would rather do that than have the building flood.”
Gordon said he found out about the broken pipe and subsequent flood via the email and was disappointed because students were supposed to work with wet materials on Monday.
“We still managed,” Gordon said. “Students used the water in the music department and everything worked out.”
CCC art department volunteer Allan Perlof said he arrived on campus at 7:15 a.m and was surprised by Jackson and Son Plumbing and news of the broken water main.
“It’s an extreme inconvenience to ceramic students because water is a huge component of what we do,” Perlof said. “Students had no complaints whatsoever. What they were doing was not impaired by the lack of water in the building.”
Because water is an important part of ceramics, a 55-gallon barrel of water is used as a reserve in case of an emergency — much like Sunday’s water main break.
“If students don’t pollute the water it can last 20 class sessions.”
Perlof said the container is on rollers that can be moved to an area where water is accessible to be filled and brought back to the Art Building.