Neighborhood leak goes unplugged

April 16, 2009 7:49:31 PM PDT
In Oakland, there's a water leak along part of College Avenue that has been dripping for a long time into an electrical utility box, which of course is not a good mix. Now, there's a hunt to find somebody who will get it fixed.

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Geologists say it took millions of years for water to carve the Grand Canyon, but after two years outside Eddie's Liquor Store in Oakland, they're hoping a small trickle doesn't come to that.

Store owner Wayne Johnson points out, while lifting the protective cover, a leak isn't a just a leak when you see where it comes from. In this case, a sunken electrical box is flooded with water which feeds power poles that routinely short out. It is also an ironic sight watching the seeping water flow at maybe one gallon every five minutes in a drought year in which East Bay MUD has asked to raise rates on customers.

"Well I don't know. A gallon every five minutes is a lot," said Johnson.

The water is so deep, that it appears to move with the tides. It's been here so long that it looks like there is stuff growing at the bottom of it.

"They come out, they'll look and they leave. They just pass the buck," said Darrell James, a cashier at the Eddie's Liquor Store.

In the store, James and Johnson told ABC7 they have spent a year and a half waiting for some agency to own this leak in limbo. They say East Bay MUD referred them to PG&E, who referred them to public works.

After many calls, public works were the first to arrive. Five minutes later, they referred us to PG&E, which showed up a few moments later, and who finally admitted owning the box, but not causing the problem.

"We don't know where the water is coming from," said a PG&E worker.

"It's East Bay MUD's water," said Johnson.

And at last report, East Bay MUD planned to return next week, to leak hunting. In the meantime, PG&E sucked out the box and sealed it, treating a symptom, but not causing a cure.

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