Campus closed due to water main break

Sandbags lined the gutter of Cerritos College C-6 parking lot after it became flooded due to a water main break, forcing the college to cancel classes and close the campus Sept. 17.

“I was informed that the president has cancelled classes due to a water problem,” Maureen Smith, adjunct faculty/SEM Division said.

Construction on the new math and sciences building was brought to a halt as crew members worked to repair a water main that broke around 7 a.m. as a result of digging done by a backhoe tractor.

“We were excavating and hit a main water line,” Danny Pinard, superintendent, Kemp Bros. Construction said. “When the line cracked, water shot up and we had to shut off the valves to stop the water. Nobody was hurt and there was no danger; we had it contained within 20-30 minutes.”

There were no markings put into the area where subcontractor Neubauer Electricians were digging for electrical lines, leaving the backhoe operator unaware that a water main was below.

“No markings were made because no water pipe was evident on the dimensions given on the drawings provided to us by the school,” Rick Zarp, general superintendent/Kemp Bros. Construction said. “We were going on old drawings.”

Water had to be turned off while repairs were made resulting in no working bathroom facilities or classroom fire sprinklers. The campus was closed around 10 a.m.

“It sucks, plain and simple,” Casey Flanagan, Culinary Arts, said. “I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get here by 7 a.m. Ten to fifteen minutes into class, my boss said we had to get out of there.”

The broken pipe was not expected to delay construction to the new building and the repair was predicted to be finished by the end of the workday.

“Nothing unforeseen, it’s a simple fix,” Pinard said.

Students reacted to the unexpected day off while waiting for rides near the parking lot.

“It’s really not a free day,” Diana Nava, Culinary Arts, said. “We get less practice and our learning is interrupted.”