Water Outage Caused by Valve Malfunction


Water pours out of a water main behind the Matadome at CSUN campus. Photo credit: Eduardo Miranda

Samantha Gullikson

A waterline broke underground last week, causing a water outage on campus. The Student Recreation Center and Redwood Hall were the most affected by the outage, but various parts of campus were also without water.

Jason Wang, Senior Director for CSUN’s Physical Plant Management, said the waterline break was caused by a valve malfunction.

“The mechanical connection to the valve came loose. I wish I had a great explanation, could be installation error, could be age,” Wang said. “It’s about 15 years old and it came loose from the valve.”

Wang said that the pipes usually last much longer, and they aren’t sure why this particular one malfunctioned.

“[The pipes] have a useful life of varying lengths, 30 to 50 years isn’t unheard of for the actual piping. Valves are less, about 20 to 30 years. We keep an eye on pipes based on their age,” Wang said. “This was completely out of the blue. The pipe that was in the ground for this line was expected to last another 30 years.”

Wang said PPM wasn’t working on anything in the area prior to the waterline breaking, but it’s possible the malfunction was caused by vibration from the construction of the new Sustainability Center.

Physical Plant Management is working on a repiping project on the west side of campus, and Wang said they don’t expect any more outages to occur.

Wang estimated the cost of the repairs at about $25,000 to $30,000.