- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Local residents enjoying Lodi Lake Nature Area may have noticed it’s a little soggy lately.

That’s because a long-abandoned irrigation pipe is apparently seeping water to the surface, closing off a popular section of trail and causing a large tree to topple.

“It’s something we’ve been dealing with for several months,” said Jeff Hood, director of Lodi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

The water carried by the pipe has formed a pond on the main dirt trail in the nature area, which is bad enough, but the water-saturated soil has also caused a tree to fall, Hood said.

A portion of the trail has been cordoned off with caution tape, causing visitors to detour around the seepage.

“I hope they resolve this. You’d hate to see more trees go down,” said Ray Delgado of Lodi, visiting the nature area with his grandson, Owen, 8, on Monday afternoon.

George Cox, Jr., another visitor to the area Monday afternoon, also hopes for a remedy.

“This is the crown jewel of Lodi. If this water just sits, it could change the the way this all looks out here,” he said.

City staff isn’t quite sure why the pipe has become a problem now, after so many years. It’s possible that tree roots somewhere along the line may have caused a break, he said, or that the plug at the end of the pipe became damaged.

They can’t check, because the pipe was on the Lodi Lake property long before the city owned it, and staff aren’t exactly sure where to find the pipe’s plugged end in the Mokelumne River.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s not on any blueprints or plans,” Hood said.

The city hired a scuba diver to try and find the plugged end at a cost of $1,500, but visibility in the river was poor and the diver was unable to locate the pipe.

For now, the city is looking for other solutions.

Staff is placing sandbags around the pipe’s opening in the Mokelumne River to try and divert or at least slow the inflow of water. If it works, the city can at least remove the fallen tree, Hood said.

But a permanent fix is unlikely to happen until winter, when the river’s water levels are low enough for city staff to determine the problem and repair it, he said.

Hood wanted to emphasize that the leaky pipe is not causing the loss of any city water during the drought.

“It’s just the water from the river pouring into the park,” he said.

Contact reporter Kyla Cathey at [email protected]

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(c)2015 the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.)

Visit the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.) at www.lodinews.com

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