Water service was restored late Wednesday for nearly 700 North households that were without it for eight hours due to a broken water main. Officials cautioned that tap water in the affected homes shouldn't be consumed for at least 48 hours due to the outage.
CSD Director of Field Operations Paul Siebensohn confirmed at 10:15 p.m. that service was coming back online. Security said the repairs were complete and tests were being done.
Residents in Units 3 and 4 who lost water service should use boiled water or bottled water for consumption until the tap water comes up clean in CSD tests for two consecutive days, according to a notice distributed by the CSD Wednesday evening. The boil-water notice follows state health regulations regarding systems that have lost pressure for a significant length of time, Siebensohn said.
Plaza Foods employee Jenna Fujitsubo checks the supply of bottled water, and Kevin Cox was one of the many shoppers who added a few containers to the cart Wednesday after much of the North lost its water. "Everybody's just been in and out all evening," a checker said.
A contractor working on the community's Rio Oso water tank rehabilitation project broke the water main valve about 2 p.m. Water service to Units 3 and 4 on the North -- everything above the second Guadalupe Drive -- was shut down while CSD Water Department personnel and the contractor repaired the break.
Ed Crouse, CSD general manager, said late Wednesday that the break wasn't a system failure or a problem caused by the age of the system. He said a joint lifted and separated when workers were disassembling a smaller tank on the site of the giant Rio Oso storage tank.
Crouse said there were a couple of reports of garages that were flooded, but the CSD hadn't been able to sort that out yet.
He said he wanted to thank the crew on the scene -- seven CSD employees and four contract employees. He also cited the South Gate dispatchers, who were "bombarded" with phone calls, and the CSD office staff, which worked to get the notices out and update the CSD's web site.
Workers will continue to flush the system all night, Crouse said.
In late afternoon, Siebensohn estimated service would return sometime after 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., he gave a report at the CSD's monthly board meeting and said the main had been repaired but it developed a new break. At that time, he could not estimate when service would return. Later in the evening, Security gave a target of midnight.
The boil-water notice says tap water used for consumption or food preparation must be boiled for one minute and then cooled, or bleach or water purification chemicals must be used.
Crouse echoed the notice, telling customers in Units 3 and 4 to purify their water until the CSD tests find it clear of problems. There is no problem showering in the water, Crouse said.
He said special handling is needed because of the possibility of unclean water entering the system due to its low pressure.
District personnel created flyers with the notice that were distributed door-to-door in Units 3 and 4.
The full notice follows.
Here is the full text of the CSD notice:
BOIL WATER ORDER
Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre su agua potable.
Tradúzcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.
BOIL YOUR WATER BEFORE USING
Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness.
Due to the recent event, a contractor inadvertently broke apart a water line during the Rio Oso rehabilitation, the California Department of Health Services in conjunction with the Sacramento
County Health Department, and Rancho Murieta CSD Water System are advising residents of Rancho Murieta Units 3 and 4 to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
Optional alternative to include for prolonged situations where it fits.
• An alternative method of purification for residents that do not have gas or electricity available is to use fresh liquid household bleach (Clorox®, Purex®, etc.). To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/2 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow to stand for 30 minutes before using. A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this purification procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.
• Water purification tablets may also be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
We will inform you when tests show no bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water. We anticipate resolving the problem within two (2) days. CPDH is requiring that we have two (2) consecutive days of coliform absence before lifting the boiled water order.
For more information call:
Water Utility contact: Paul Siebensohn, 916-354-3730. Please visit our website for more information: rmcsd.com.
California Department of Health Services – Drinking Water Field Operations Branch- District Office at 916-875-5000.
Local Environmental Health Jurisdiction: Sacramento County, Cheryl Hawkins at 916 875-8429.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.