August 13, 2022 | What a waste — of water and time

8 Comments | Categorised in: ,

Friends and neighbors:

The Fountain at The Circle is a marvel, not just esthetically but mechanically. With a little routine maintenance — clearing it of leaves and other debris, cleaning the filters of the pumping system, checking the water chemistry — it flows and flows, recycling the same 5,000-plus gallons of water day after day.

Except, that is, when someone decides to throw soap into the fountain and fill it with foam. This has now happened twice in the past week. It might seem like a bit of harmless petty vandalism, but it has significant impacts: thousands of gallons of water tainted and wasted as it is drained away; hours of time required by community volunteers to clean up the mess and get the fountain running again; the shutdown of one of Berkeley’s most beloved landmarks for as long as that takes. It’s not harmless; it’s a selfish, wasteful and destructive act, especially during a time of serious drought.

We have taken steps to try to prevent this from occurring, including. limiting the hours the fountain is operating after dusk, but it seems that one or a few thoughtless individuals can’t always be dissuaded. It may be that we have to further limit the time the fountain is on after dark, which is when the vandalism usually occurs.

For now, our volunteers will be out cleaning up the mess left behind. The fountain will be refilled and flowing again soon. But it is our hope that calling attention to this wasteful act might convince the next would-be vandal(s) to think twice and not deprive the rest of us of a functioning fountain.

— Board of Directors, Friends of the Fountain and Walk

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  • Sad to hear once more … three of our daughters live in the area with their families and all enjoy seeing the fountain in operation. Perhaps those who are instrumental in preventing the fountain from operating will read this and think again before repeating this …

  • Barb says:

    Possible someone bathing in this water with body soap sounds crazy but have you seen the amount of homeless folks around Berkeley?

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hi, Barbara. Interesting theory, but does not seem likely. These soapings are pretty clearly just done for yuks. In this case, as in previous instances, several bottles of detergent were used. Which would seem to rule out someone looking for a cheap bath. But thanks for your comment.

  • Filiz says:

    I was wondering what’s up with the fountain. Thanks for the info. This fountain is definitely a landmark and we’d love to see it running…

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hello. The fountain was vandalized twice in 5 days, and our volunteers have cleaned it up but not had a chance to get out to restart it. It will be back up and running soon. Thanks for your concern.

  • Jon Remis says:

    Could you try and remove the soap from the water without draining the 5000 gallons? A quick search on the internet seems to show a method for doing this but maybe not compatible with the filtration/pump system in place?

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Hi, Jon. Please email what you have found about this to us at We’d love to avoid having to drain the fountain when it is soaped, but have not found a solution, especially when the vandals use a great deal of detergent, as they did this last time. Thanks for contacting us.

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