GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

San Carlos neighborhood still under boil water order

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 11, 2011

A failure at the Climax Pump Station in the Navajo Community neighborhood of San Carlos resulted in the loss of water pressure in a portion of the area, leading to yesterday’s boil water advisory. Whenever pressure isn’t maintained, there is a possibility of water siphoning back into the delivery system from household and landscape plumbing, so a boil water order is issued until pressure is restored and tests confirm water quality.

During the outage, city workers connected a portable pump to nearby hydrants to maintain pressure so that faucets would still function. Unfortunately the pump — which is extremely loud — had to operate during the night. Most residents appeared to be understanding about the noisy pump, although several people did harass workers and threaten they would complain to their councilmember.

A worker at the scene told me that the problem at the Climax Pump Station was due to a mechanical component that failed and that it was possibly an after-effect of the recent county-wide power outage. He said that because of the particular kind of failure a backup power generator would not have helped in this situation (he added this station has no backup generator but that “one is in the works”).

I was told the repairs to the pump station are finished but they’re going to keep the portable pump hooked up overnight.

Public Utilities Dept. Water Operations Branch spokesman Arian Collins replied to me via email:

“There is a project in the planning stages to replace Climax Pump Station, and this new pump station would have backup power. But it’s a few years away. However, backup power in this case would not have prevented the problem.

If all tests come back negative tomorrow, we will present our findings to the local office of the state Department of Public Health. If that office agrees with the findings, they will likely allow us to cancel the boil water notice. We will know more tomorrow.”

 

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