Crews work to fix broken water main that flooded 12 homes in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay road turned into a river and gushed water everywhere. Public works crews rushed to fix the broken water main that flooded nearly a dozen homes.

A 16-inch water main burst in Oakland's Dimond District just before 9 a.m. Friday and created a huge sinkhole. More than 12 hours later, crews were still at the scene on Montana Street trying to fix the broken main. Water service has since been restored to residents.

It was a rough start to the weekend for families living along the street. The street looked like raging rapids Friday morning.

The Santiago family's basement needs to dry out. "What frustrates me is why don't they fix the whole pipe instead of patch-piecing it?" said homeowner Martha Santiago.

Santiago sits watching the clean-up waiting for water service to return. It's a re-occurring problem. "It's the fourth time this has happened, three times it's actually gone through my house," Santiago said.
She says this one is the worst, basement belongings are covered in plastic bags. Her neighbor remembers the last water main break.

"Mid December 2014 up at the top of the hill and now it's a the middle of the hill, so it's probably the same line," said resident Gene Gorelick.

Unfortunately, Gorelicks's BMW was parked in the water's path and was also damaged.

The pipe is 4-feet deep. The break created a sinkhole and they've reached the pipe. And now they have to replace it. East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has a pipe replacement program. The cracked main was slated to be replaced in 2017. The utility admits mains are breaking faster than they can get to them.
"Right now we are at 10 miles a year, and we want to be at 40 miles," said Andrea Pook of EBMUD.

There was no word yet on estimated property damage. EBMUD said it will pay the damage to all affected homes. It's an expensive problem for utility officials, and a messy inconvenience for families.

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