Water from damaged fire hydrant is allowed to gush for 5 1/2 hours so Mission Valley tourists wouldn’t lose their bath water
SAN DIEGO, CA. The City of San Diego has admitted that the fire hydrant knocked over on Wednesday, August 20th, by a motorist on Hotel Circle South spewed forth 3.8 million gallons – enough water the Union-Tribune stated today that would fill six Olympic sized swimming pools. The hydrant was struck at about 4 pm, and instead of city crews cutting off the water main, water was allowed to gush until 9:30 pm because of the many hotels and restaurants in the area, Arian Collins of the city’s Water Department told the U-T. [Here’s the link to the U-T.]
Normally, when a hydrant is damaged, the water is cut off using what are called “shutoff gates,” but these were damaged – not by the accident, however. At that point, city crews should have cut off the water main that runs the length of the street, but that would have meant those Mission Valley tourists would have to go without their showers. So, a special crew was brought in but they couldn’t repair it either. So, at some point, city crews determined that they had to shut the water main that runs the length of the street. This caused no water for the hotels and restaurants for less than two hours.
Meanwhile, nearly 4 million gallons of our precious water was allowed to flow west to the mouth of the San Diego River – Dog Beach – and county health officials had to post contamination warning signs at the beach. Even clean water can pick up bacteria and pollutants as it drains to the ocean.
Let’s get this right: at 4 the hydrant was knocked off its base. So water started gushing. The shutoff gates were already damaged so they couldn’t be used to shut down the water. Somebody – who? – decided that if the water main was then shut off, the tourist businesses in the immediate area would not have water until repairs were made. For five and a half hours the water was allowed to gush and flow – water that we are supposed to be saving – so says Mayor Jerry Sanders – water that could fill 6 Olympic pools, enough water for how many San Diego households? “I think we did the right thing in the circumstances,” said Collins. WRONG!
Next time Jerry Sanders wants us to save water, it will be – I predict – after all the tourists have left town.