String of water mains break overnight in Millbrae

A Bay Area city faced a crisis after six waterlines ruptured overnight, leaving up to 1,000 homes without any water.
December 13, 2013 6:54:18 PM PST
A Bay Area city faced a crisis after six waterlines ruptured overnight, leaving up to 1,000 homes without any water.

As of Friday at 6 p.m., repairs were almost done and the water was slowly coming back on across Millbrae. And it's not a moment too soon.

There was no water flowing from the taps at Joe Gibbs' house because most of it was rushing down his street on Helen Drive after a 12 inch water line ruptured overnight.

"I woke to jackhammering at 5:30 a.m. and my wife asking what to do about there not being any water," Gibbs said. "We had five gallon water jugs stored for emergencies. So, using those."

Five other waterlines burst about the same time across the Millbrae highlands, leaving 1,000 homes high and dry.

"I haven't been able to get into the shower, so that's not nice," homeowner Matt Leyes said.

The first break occurred at 11:20 p.m. Thursday night in the vicinity of Camino Alto and Silva Court. A second water main break occurred at 1:20 a.m. Friday near the intersection of Loyola Drive and Murchison Avenue.

At 4 a.m., two lines had breaks, one at the intersection of Helen and Geraldine drives and one near the intersection of Larkspur and Ridgewood drives. The fifth break occurred at Millbrae Avenue and Minorca Way at 6 a.m. Friday.

Every available public utility worker is on duty repairing or replacing the broken water pipes. Mayor Wayne Lee says the recent cold snap may have contributed; but he blames aging infrastructure for the failures.

"The pipes are about 65-years-old and they have a service life of 50 years," he said. "But to have five or six burst in one day is unusual for any city."

Unusual and costly. The emergency fix could leave cash-strapped Millbrae with a bill of over $1 million.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)


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