Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 9:03 am | Fair 43º


Local News


Santa Barbara Repairs Eastside Road after Early Morning Water Main Break

Nearby residents encouraged to flush out water lines after discolored water makes it into homes near Montecito and Voluntario streets intersection

Street repairs are made Monday afternoon after a water main break on the Eastside.
Street repairs are made Monday afternoon after a water main break on the Eastside.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara’s Eastside was the scene of a large water main break early Monday morning, which flooded the streets and left the intersection in disrepair.

The break was reported at around 1 a.m. at the intersection of Montecito and Voluntario streets.

“It was a significant break because it was one of our larger pipes,” according to Cathy Taylor, water systems manager for the City of Santa Barbara.

The department had heard concerns from residents, who feared that the water was dirty because it was discolored.

Taylor said that the discoloration was a result of the water quickly leaving the pipes at high pressure, removing pipe corrosion and scaling with it.

After the main break occurred, city staff flushed the distribution system, opening fire hydrants and drawing in clear water, she said.

In some cases, the discolored water made it through to water meters at people’s homes, so Taylor recommended people flush out their water lines if they see anything out of the ordinary from their tap.

“We’re telling people to turn on their bathtubs or showers full force until the water clears,” she said, adding that water should be run for about five minutes to fully flush out the pipes.

All other taps should be run in the home as well, and Taylor said that residents can capture the water and use it on their landscapes, but she recommended not drinking the water.

The City of Santa Barbara typically sees more pipe breaks when the weather gets colder.

A water main break at Montecito and Voluntario streets left some residents with discolored water coming through the pipes. Click to view larger
A water main break at Montecito and Voluntario streets left some residents with discolored water coming through the pipes.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

While the city seldom has issues with older pipes that were installed in the 1920s, the city struggles with pipes that were installed after World War II, Taylor said.

That’s because those are made of cast iron and break more easily.

This type of pipe makes up about 40 percent of the city’s 300 miles of pipeline, causing the city to respond to frequent breaks.

The city has not been able to replace the piping because of the large amount of water needed to flush through the new pipes after installation.

With the city in the midst of a four-year drought, any excess water makes that scenario a no-go, Taylor said.

“It’s an insurmountable hurdle.”

Though Taylor said she had not heard of any damage to the nearby Eastside Library because Monday’s break, “the intersection is pretty ripped up.”

A contractor will be working Monday to patch the street so it stays safe during the rain storms expected this week.

After things dry out, the city will work to have the road repaved.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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