SAN DIEGO - Leaking Water Main, Failure in Pipeline's Valve Used to Relieve Pressure : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Leaking Main Causes Mess at Route 56 Extension Site By Kim Peterson UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

April 11, 2000

RANCHO PEQASQUITOS -- Residents along Park Run Road are used to looking beyond their back yards and seeing huge yellow construction vehicles chew up the ground as they carve a new highway.

But police knocked on doors Sunday night to alert the neighborhood to another unpleasant sight: water from a leaking main was rushing from the construction site, creating a stream behind the houses and flooding some back yards.

"This was like a regular river going back here," said Glenn Shrier, 72, whose house is at the bottom of a grade. Brush and construction debris behind Shrier's house had formed a small dam, and the water collected into a pool that engulfed his yard.

Shrier said he and his son worked feverishly from about 10:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday, using shovels, their hands and anything else they could get hold of to break the dam.

"If we hadn't have, I don't know how high it would have gotten in here," he said. The water was more than a foot deep before the dam broke, he said.

City crews had drained most of the water from the neighborhood by yesterday afternoon, but residents still had some reminders of the flooding: squishy backyard lawns, mud drying on porches and a moist, sandy creek bed behind the homes that was 10 feet wide at points.

The leak occurred in the middle of a state Route 56 construction site, said Tedi Jackson, spokeswoman for the city's water operations division. The city and the state transportation department are building the freeway to connect interstates 5 and 15.

A 36-inch water main runs underground near the construction area, delivering water to Rancho Peqasquitos, Rancho Bernardo and Carmel Valley Ranch.

Crews turned off the water Sunday night and found the culprit. The main itself did not break, Jackson said, but there was a failure in the pipeline's connection to a valve used to relieve pressure.

The city's emergency phone line logged about 100 calls after the leak, and some homes in Rancho Peqasquitos went without water for about five hours, she said. About 25 homes had some flooding or water damage.

Sundance Elementary School also lost water service, but the school is closed this week for spring break.

The pipeline was refilled with water yesterday morning. Pools of water remained at the construction site, but work resumed on the freeway.

The water never made it to Teresita Ibong's back yard, which was protected by a small dirt barrier.

"We were lucky that the water was controlled right away, in a matter of three or four hours," she said. "I think the city did a good job tending to the needs of people."

) Copyright 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.


-- (, April 11, 2000

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