Leaking boiler pipe proves elusive

Alastair Bowen, of Island Park Contractors, digs a hole at Dunedin's Kaikorai Valley College, in...
Alastair Bowen, of Island Park Contractors, digs a hole at Dunedin's Kaikorai Valley College, in search of a leaking pipe. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A leaking pipe is causing heating woes and headaches for Kaikorai Valley College in Dunedin.

Principal Rick Geerlofs said heated water from the school boiler was leaking from a pipe somewhere on school grounds, and contractors had spent the past two weeks digging holes, trying to find the leak.

The leak was stopping the boiler from generating the pressure needed for it to function efficiently.

The most recent hole dug had steam coming out of it, so Mr Geerlofs was confident contractors were getting closer to the source of the problem.

Unfortunately, it was becoming apparent the leak might be situated underneath one of the school's newer buildings, he said.

Adding to the woes was the fact the school boiler might have to be replaced at considerable expense.

Mr Geerlofs said it was suspected the leak had been there for some time, and once it had been found and fixed, it might affect the boiler's operation.

''Once the leak has been fixed, it means the boiler may have to operate under different pressures.

''It is an older boiler, so it might require replacement, but we can't determine that yet.''

The board of trustees would deal with that problem when it arose, and apply to the Ministry of Education for funding, if needed.

Fortunately, the school had been able to keep heating on in classrooms by continually stoking the boiler and replacing the water which was leaking out of the system.

''Yes, it has been a little bit cooler than usual, but we've managed to nurse it through to this stage.

''We don't have kids sitting around with ice falling off their noses,'' he joked.

As to how long it would be before the heating system was fully operational again, he could not say.

Once the leak had been located, a mufti day would be held at the school so pupils could wear warm, non-uniform clothing while the heating system was shut down and repaired, Mr Geerlofs said.

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