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Water main in Bird Rock is repaired after break sends ‘geyser’ into the street

Water flows onto La Jolla Hermosa Avenue in Bird Rock after a water main break Oct. 24.
Water flows onto La Jolla Hermosa Avenue in Bird Rock after a water main break Oct. 24.
(Christina Giorgio)

Residents were told to boil water during testing to make sure it was safe.

A water main that broke in the Bird Rock area sent water gushing onto the street, leaving some people under a notice to boil water.

The break, which occurred the afternoon of Oct. 24 in the 5300 block of La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, was caused by “corrosion to an old pipe,” according to San Diego city spokesman Arian Collins.

San Diego public utilities crews shut down the main to make repairs, the city stated on social media.

Bird Rock resident Christina Giorgio said residents in the area were placed under a notice to boil water to disinfect it before drinking or using it for purposes such as cooking.

The city said on social media that affected residents received the notice while the water was being tested to make sure it was safe. Two water wagons were onsite “to provide water to impacted customers for drinking and other needs,” and staff was working to make sure nearby Bird Rock Elementary School had water that was safe to drink, the city said.

The city lifted the boil-water notice the evening of Oct. 27, with Collins saying “the water is safe to consume.”

He said city crews “replaced the damaged main with a new section of PVC pipe.”

The city reported that about 15 water customers were affected, including Bird Rock Elementary, though some in the area suggested the impact was greater.

Giorgio said her window, in a residential complex with more than 50 units, faces the street that was flooded. “It was certainly concerning,” she said. “I had no idea how bad the flooding would get.”

Water flows from a storm drain and into the ocean near Bird Rock after a water main break Oct. 24.
Water flows from a storm drain and into the ocean near Bird Rock after a water main break Oct. 24.
(Christina Giorgio)

She said she saw a “geyser” coming from the broken main and water gushing into a storm drain and then into the ocean.

“I walked down to [an ocean access point] and ... I’ve never seen anything like it. It was just a filthy brown geyser going directly to the ocean,” Giorgio said. “It was very disturbing to see that amount of runoff flowing right into the area, which is heavily used by swimmers and surfers, as well as marine life.”

As Giorgio walked home, she saw water high enough to reach the inside of cars if the doors were open, she said. “The amount of water on La Jolla Hermosa was unbelievable,” she said. “You would need waders to walk in the street.”

She then alerted her neighbors, she said.

Giorgio estimated it took two hours for the city to shut off the water and stop the flooding.

“The shutdown process must be performed gradually to reduce risk of unintended pressure-related failures in the surrounding system,” Collins said.

Collins said the city was unaware of any damage to nearby property because of the water main break but added that “anyone who has experienced property damage can file a claim with the city’s Risk Management Department.” ◆