BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Tens of thousands of gallons of water have gushed out of a city water pipe on Arastradero Road over the last month, but Palo Alto utilities officials say they won’t be able to fix the leak for another one to three weeks.
Since July 11, the water has been seeping out from under a steel plate on Arastradero Road across the street from the entrance to Alta Mesa Memorial Park. The water drains east to Georgia Avenue. The stream then loops around the corner to Wallis Court, where it falls down a sewer drain.
Wallis Court resident Alexandra Gotsch, 81, said she was concerned that water was being wasted.
Utilities Department spokeswoman Catherine Elvert said yesterday that a city contractor had accidentally damaged the pipe while excavating to replace a valve on a water transmission pipeline.
How about shutting off the water?
Elvert said that once utility officials learned about the leak, city crews and the contractor responded immediately to try to stop the water flow and repair the pipe, but weren’t able to completely shut off water service on that line because it feeds water to many customers in the area, including a couple of local schools.
“Water has been trickling from the pipe at a rate of 2 to 3 gallons per minute since the pipe was damaged,” Elvert said in an email. “We estimate that the total water loss since the leak began is around 80,000-120,000 gallons.”
The pipe is an unusual size, so the city had to order special parts to repair it. Those parts are scheduled to arrive in time for repair work to begin “as early as next week,” Elvert said. “The repair work may be delayed one or two weeks while we mobilize equipment, parts and construction crews.”
City employees are developing a “special traffic control plan for mitigating impacts around the construction area” and ensuring safe routes for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, Elvert said.
Once construction repairs begin, work on the pipe is expected to take about a week.
Elvert recommended that Palo Altans use the city’s Heads Up! tool to find information on construction-related road closures. The site can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2Mf1TZV.