The South Pasadena Public Works Department found itself in emergency mode during the early hours of Easter Sunday, hustling to repair a water main break that was gushing water after bursting through pavement.
The crew worked well into the night, unable to secure any of its usual contractors for the job due to the holiday.
A high-pressure water main along Indiana Avenue ruptured between Monterey Road and Alta Vista Avenue at around 6:49 a.m. Sunday, April 4. Public Works Director Shahid Abbas said the likely culprits were the cast iron pipes that were laid in the 1940s and which are vulnerable to cracking at any significant disruption.
The Easter holiday complicated matters as well for the small department, which typically retains contractors for more heavy duty work.
“We don’t have the full capacity to handle such breaks,” Abbas said this week. “Unfortunately, on Easter Sunday, none of our contractors were able to come out and work on them. We mustered all of our crews, headed out and fixed it ourselves.”
Work excavating the site began at around 8:30 a.m. that day, Abbas said, with water service finally restored at around 11 p.m. Crews continued to work until around 4:30 a.m. Monday to refill and compact the excavated areas.
Abbas explained that the city’s water system is heavily computerized, which allowed the city to stop water flow quickly enough to prevent a significant loss of water.
“We knew immediately,” Abbas said. “The first thing was to shut the water down and start contacting our contractors.”
However, the sudden burst of water did flood the nearby tract of the sewage system, which also necessitated cleanup work on Sunday. There were seven city employees who volunteered to work on the water main repair, while around the same amount worked on flushing out the sewer line, Abbas said.
Approximately 90 water connections were affected by the outage, Abbas added.