Sewage smell on campus caused by water line leak

A sewage smell on campus was caused by a water line break underneath the cafeteria on Santa Monica College's main campus, leaking upward of 10,000 gallons of grease water, said the acting chief director of facilities management at the college, Bruce Wyban. Grease-laden water from Campus Kitchen sinks flooded a crawlspace about three feet underneath the vendor, where the water line runs. Usually, this water travels through the line to a grease clarifier, where the grease and water is separated.

"The line broke, and water and grease accumulated inside the crawlspace," Wyban said.

Wyban said the situation was not hazardous.

"We have some other pipes that we suspect may be going towards the failing condition," he said.

The pipes, which were installed in the 1950s, have a lifespan of 40 to 60 years.

"We need to deal with other sections of this piping," he said. "We're looking at the condition of everything down there."

At least eight yards of soil have been removed from the crawlspace to allow for drying. It could take several days for the area to dry, and maintenance has set up fans to increase the process.

The college has waste water pumped every 90 days and carried to another facility where it is sorted.

Maintenance located the source of the smell when KCRW, which is located underneath the cafeteria, complained about the stench. When an obvious source could not be located, they investigated further.