EBMUD has been at work in Berkeley this week after a water main break Thursday. Photo: Citizen reporter
EBMUD has been at work in Berkeley this week after a water main break Thursday. Photo: Citizen reporter

Update, 3:30 p.m. North Berkeley water repairs are taking longer than planned and won’t be working again until after 10 p.m. Friday, EBMUD has announced. Full restoration may even last into early Saturday morning, according to an advisory released just after 3 p.m.

This water service outage has been extended to multiple residential blocks in the Berkeley hills, including Euclid Avenue, Marin Avenue, Arlington Avenue and other surrounding streets. Approximately 650 customers are without water service,” according to the statement. The pipe that broke was 63 years old. 

In addition to the challenging steep terrain in the vicinity of the broken main and the need for deep excavation, this is a busy residential area. Crews have been onsite continuously for more than 24 hours to isolate this broken transmission main and reroute water to serve the affected areas. Water storage and pressure in the area have been impacted. After a complicated hillside excavation, crews are now repairing the pipeline.”

Crews must complete the repair, and flush and monitor the affected pipelines before turning the water back on. EBMUD called the repair “difficult,” in part because it is on a hillside.

When water is restored, residents are asked to run water through their front hose bib, the outdoor faucet at the front of the house, until the water runs clear. Customers should also run faucets inside the home for 1-3 minutes until the water is clear. Customers are advised to shut the water supply valves to their toilets until they have completed a 1-3 minute flush of their home water lines.”

EBMUD asks customers not to open faucets until water service has been restored.

Update, 11 a.m. A resident on the street just told Berkeleyside that EBMUD is now saying service won’t be restored until 6 p.m.

EBMUD is at work in Berkeley after a water main break. Photo: Citizen reporter

Original story, 9:50 a.m. A complex water repair that knocked out service to at least 200 customers in and around North Berkeley is slated to be done by noon Friday, the East Bay Municipal Utility District said.

Nelsy Rodriguez, EBMUD spokeswoman, said the water main break at Euclid and Marin avenues Thursday was “a complicated one” the utility company describes as an “accordion-type break.”

The steel pipe that burst was more than 50 years old, and 16 inches in diameter. After the pipe broke at approximately 6:30 a.m. Thursday, a crack formed coming from the hole.

Rodriguez said, in addition to the age of the pipe, the neighborhood where it broke also experiences a lot of ground movement.

Detours off Marin Avenue to Spruce Street for access to Grizzly Peak Boulevard are also in effect.

Workers have spent more than 8 hours excavating around the pipe since repairs began Thursday morning. As of early Friday morning, they still had several hours to go.

EBMUD has been at work in Berkeley this week after a water main break Thursday. Photo: Citizen reporter
EBMUD has been at work in Berkeley this week after a water main break Thursday. Photo: Citizen reporter

Rodriguez said the exact numbers of customers who lost water would not be available until after the work is complete “because of the complex nature” of the repairs, some of which took place during the night when most people were not using their water.

But she said an estimated 200 customers had been impacted, which she described as “pretty significant.”

Once water service is restored, she said customers should be sure to flush their systems by running water until it’s clear. That ensures all the silt is removed. Rodriguez said flushing times can vary due to different people’s plumbing. (Scroll down to learn more.)

“Turn on the water and make sure it’s running clean,” she said. “Usually, as soon as it’s clear, you’re good to go.”

Workers will also do flushing on site, releasing a lot of water once service is restored. Normal pressure should return once work is complete.

On the bright side, Rodriguez said, as of Friday, due to a “really great, fortuitous winter,” EBMUD is removing the drought surcharge from customer bills because emergency drought conditions are no longer in effect.

Read more about flushing on the EBMUD website. Find alerts and updates about service outages. EBMUD updates also appear on Twitter.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...