Crews from the Goleta Water District are working to isolate and repair the source of a water leak that caused street closures and detours at the corner of Ocean Road and Mesa Road in front of the Rec Cen.

UCSB Facilities Management Assistant Vice Chancellor David Gonzales said a main pipe carrying reclaimed water used for irrigation suffered a leak, but its cause and exact location has not yet been determined. Gonzales said crews from the Goleta Water District, the pipe’s owner, might know where the exact leak is by today.

“They haven’t determined where the leak is coming from,” Gonzales said. “They’ve been injecting dye into the system and hoping to see it in the trench where the water that is accumulating is located.”

Due to the road closures, drivers coming onto campus from Highway 217 and traveling along Mesa could not turn left onto Ocean as of early last night. Also, traffic lights at the west campus gate and the intersection of Mesa and Ocean were configured to blink red to allow drivers to detour around the closure.

Gonzales said the university contacted the water district, which dug up a portion of the street, because the roadway showed signs of water-induced sinking.

Mike Kanno, Goleta Water District operations manager, said crews have been working on the problem since the week of Jan. 24 and have narrowed their search to within 10 feet of the leak.

“The problem is the leak is so small it’s difficult to find where it is,” he said.

The 11-year-old pipe is considered relatively new, and was not expected to leak, Kanno said. He said he thinks corrosion might have caused the problem.

“This is a steel water line… The steel water line has a plastic wrap to protect it from rusting, but it may have been damaged during installation,” he said.

Once the source and cause of the water seepage is found, Kanno said the cost and time required to repair the leak varies.

“If it was a portion [of the pipe], we would weld the section of the pipe, and that would take a couple of hours.”

If the main suffered greater damage, Kanno said the district many have to find a replacement pipe, which it would have to special order.