Water main break in north Newport repaired – some brown water residual – let pipes run a bit to clear it out.
Reports say that a water main on Highway 101 near the golf course failed Wednesday evening around 9pm. City officials said the pipe is about 70 years old. Public Works Director Tim Gross said they responded to the line break but were not aware that the Longview Hills booster pump, up the hill, had shut itself down. So after they fixed the line on 101, they figured they were done.
Unbeknownst to the crew, the booster pump at Longview Hills estates had indeed shut itself down, the result of low water pressure due to the leak down on the highway. Gross said the pump does not yet have an auto-reporting system connected to it, a system which instantly reports a shut-down directly to water plant operators. He said he has been given approval to begin outfitting every water and sewer pump station within the city with the auto-report system but added that it’ll likely take five years to get them all installed since there are over 50 pump stations involved. Gross said when they discovered the booster pump was off, they simply restarted it and everything returned to normal for Longview Hills residents.
Earlier today, some residents reported brown water coming through their taps and in their toilets but they were told to keep flushing and let their taps run until the water clears up. Obviously you shouldn’t wash clothes until your washing machine is running on clear water again. Typically it shouldn’t take long to clean it out.
Gross has often mentioned to the city council that Newport’s water and sewer line distribution system is very old and in dire need of replacing. Gross said the problem is a national one, in which our sewer and water lines have been out of sight, out of mind for decades and so they are beginning to fail with some regularity. Gross says higher water and sewer rates will, over time, provide the necessary revenue to put Newport’s sewer and water systems at a sustainable, and therefore more reliable level of service.