Clean-up continues after messy water main break in Birdland - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Clean-up continues after messy water main break in Birdland

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A water main break that spilled 1.6 million gallons, flooded garages and temporarily disrupted service at nearby hospitals in the Birdland area showed how important it is to improve San Diego's infrastructure, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Thursday.

Corrosion likely caused the 64-year-old 18-inch cast-iron pipe to crack about 4 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Meadow Lark Drive and Hummingbird Lane, according to Arian Collins, spokesman for the city's Public Utilities Department. Crews had the main shut down so repair work could begin about an hour and 20 minutes later.

"My top priority as mayor is repairing our neighborhoods and this water main break highlights how important it is to remain focused on improving our infrastructure," Faulconer said. "I came out to the neighborhood today to let people know their mayor and city are here to help. Staff will be reviewing claims as quickly as possible and we're bringing a customer-service approach to helping the affected residents."

Homes and businesses in the 2600 through 2800 blocks of Meadow Lark Drive and in the 7900 block of Nightingale Lane were left without running water overnight, but service was fully restored by 7 a.m., according to Collins.

Meadow Lark Drive remained closed to traffic throughout the morning between Nightingale and Hummingbird lanes while city street crews continued to make repairs, but was opened in the afternoon.

"I want to thank all the hardworking city employees who worked around the clock to repair the water main and restore service quickly," Faulconer said. "They showed the city at its best."

The pipe, installed in 1950, was among the roughly 100 miles of remaining cast iron pipes that the city is in the process of replacing over the next decade, according to the mayor's office.

All pipes that are less than 16 inches in diameter are scheduled to be replaced by the end of 2017. Larger pipes are scheduled to be replaced by 2023, although city officials are working to expedite that schedule.

"Grateful to city workers who quickly and safely shut off the water main break," said Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the affected area. "This is a reminder that the City Council must continue to pursue cost-saving reforms to put much needed funds into our neighborhood infrastructure."

Several medical facilities temporarily lost water, including Rady Children's Hospital, but service was restored to the pediatric medical center by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, spokesman Carlos Delgado said. Also affected were Sharp Memorial, Sharp Mary Birch and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospitals.

All the hospitals have emergency stores of water, and none reported any adverse effects on patient care.

The nearby county juvenile court and detention center also was affected to some degree, but court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said the juvenile court was open.

Residents told news crews that the overflow had flooded some residential garages on Nightingale Way. Live television shots showed people wading, swimming and floating on inflatable rubber rafts in ponds of water in front of homes and apartment complexes in the area.

The mayor's office said damage centered primarily on belongings and vehicles in the garage of an eight-unit condominium complex.

A city contractor has been on-site since Wednesday night to perform repairs to the units in coordination with residents. In addition, a city claims representative has also been meeting with residents about their options, according to the mayor's office.

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