Water line break in Exeter cuts service, forces boil-water notice

A water line break in Exeter forced the city to shut off water service to all homes and businesses in the city and warn residents to boil water before drinking it.

About 10 a.m. Monday, a Southern California Edison crew had been drilling a hole at Belmont Street and Visalia Road to install a utility pole when the augur hit a 10-inch pressurized water line.

“A 10-inch water line is one of the largest,” City Manager Randy Groom said. “It carries a substantial amount of water.”

Water from the massive leak flooded streets, yards and alleys but it appears no homes were flooded, the city said.

The city depressurized the water line by emptying the water tower and shut several valves, effectively ending water services to all connections.

The water line break was repaired by about 4 p.m., and city officials prepared to put water back in the system. When water flows again, residents are warned not to drink the water or use it for cooking without boiling it first.

The boil water order is a state requirement when a pipe breaks because contaminants might get in. Residents should boil the water for one minute to kill any bacteria or organisms and let it cool, the city said. Bottled water can be used instead.

The advisory is in effect until further notice, but the city said it hopes the boil-water notice can be canceled Tuesday. Ending the warning requires taking water samples and checking them for contamination.

Water will begin flowing again to homes and businesses by Monday evening, the city said.

Southern California Edison said crews were replacing a 45-foot pole serving a building when the pipe ruptured.

Crews worked to pump water from the site. Edison is working with the city to investigate the cause and make repairs, the company said. Groom said the city intends to seek reimbursement from Edison for the cost of water line repairs.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold