A Missouri college called late last fall with a problem. Its heating system, a central campus heating water boiler plant with two pumped loops and three distribution branches, had developed a leak in the loop to the library building across the quad. The heating system and underground piping were 50 years old. The college had a leak in another section of piping two years prior and replaced a part of the underground heating water loop at a cost of nearly $350,000. The college wasn’t looking forward to another large expense for repairs to its aging systems.
A 1990 addition to the campus that included a student center and bookstore with connecting links to the two adjacent buildings could have damaged the piping that ran adjacent to the addition and under the connecting link to the library. A bedded planting area alongside the addition and connecting link that hung above the underground piping added a nice aesthetic. The location of the planting area, however, accelerated the corrosion of the piping as it maintained increased moisture levels and plant fertilizer around the outside of the pipes.