Newport: Embarcadero and the rest of their immediate neighbors lose water Friday evening – blown water main! Embarcadero conference meeting rooms flood.
The Embarcadero Resort and a lot of its neighboring properties on both sides of Bay Boulevard were without water for most of Friday evening due to a ruptured water main right next to the sidewalk. The water gushed like a huge, spooky water monster, roaring up out of the ground.
The water flowed down hill toward the Embarcadero, spilled into the Charter Fishing office and down into the Embarcadero’s conference and meeting room area. Waters in that area rose to about 18 inches at one point. Just bayward from the Charter office the sidewalk completely collapsed and the water rushed straight under the Embarcadero’s wooden overlook veranda and poured into the bay. Newport fire fighters eventually emptied out the water in the meeting room area but mud accumulation in the meeting rooms will have to be professionally cleaned out and the carpet restored or possibly replaced.
One tourist said with a surprise as she left the building to go to dinner (where they probably had water) that “We came to the coast to see water, but not like this! I hope they get it fixed soon!”
And Newport public works crews did exactly that. Public Works Director Tim Gross was out there with a five man crew, a debris vacuum truck, a front loader and a boat load of tools. Their first task was to shut off the main so the water fountain on steroids would fall back into the pipe. The crews took off toward various valves in the area and quickly closed them.
Then they went to work.
They found that corroded bolts on an underground valve gave way, allowing the valve to be blown apart, sending the water up through the sidewalk and damaging the pavement. At one point they thought the water blast would scour out the whole underside of the street and for a time had the street completely shut down. But when they cleared the sidewalk debris and pulled up some asphalt, they found that the street was fine. Not the bike lane of course because it was blown skyward by the water.
Crews found a replacement valve back at the shop, slapped it in, and were last seen by this reporter tightening down the bolts intending to fill the hole in with gravel and get the water back on to that end of the Bayfront.
The outage also cut off water to the entire South Beach area but their local water tanks were full so water customers probably didn’t even know about the emergency. Their tanks will be filling back up once the water is turned back on, which was supposed to be around 5am or so.
Interim City Manager Ted Smith says he’s already in the process of contacting the city’s insurance company.