SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Crews in San Francisco had to clean up a very big mess after a water main break created chaos Thursday morning in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood. By 4 p.m., things were drying out, but parts of Bryant Street near Alameda could remain closed for days as crews repair the pipe and check the safety of the street.
From the air, Bryant St looked more like a river after the water main break sent 100,000 gallons of water cascading downhill. It took crews about one hour to shut it off. It turns out, repairs on another pipeline across town caused a spike in pressure. "We isolated a leak and repaired it down in in the Bayview area. When we bringing water back on, it caused a pressure spike which showed itself here," explained Katie Miller with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The pipe contained high pressure, non-drinkable water used for firefighting. The fire department says the system was not compromised. The city says the pipe may have been leaking for months. "What we're heard from neighbors here is that this pipe may have been leaking. There was a construction project that was done here about three months ago that may have contributed to causing this pipe to start leaking," Miller said.
"It may or may not indicate some sort of shoddy work from the current contractor," neighbor Andy Moraga told ABC7 News.
On Tuesday, there was another broken water main in San Francisco's Outer Mission neighborhood which shut down Joost Ave. There are 1,200 miles of aging water pipes in San Francisco and the city is trying to replace five to 15 miles per year. But San Francisco still averages 120 water main breaks every year. The national average is 20 to 30.
The website watermainbreak.com has kept track of the nearly 5 million breaks nationwide since the year 2000 and the running total of repair costs to taxpayers is staggering.