Residents lose water citywide

By Reggie Ellis

Residents citywide were left with no water or little water pressure on Oct. 5.

Public Works Director Felix Ortiz said contractors digging to make a sewer or water connection for Blossom Estates, the new subdivision being developed near the corner of Filbert Road and Glaze Avenue, ruptured the waterline connecting the city's largest well to the system at about 9 a.m. The lapse in service had nothing to do with the city's $3 million project to upgrade the city's aging waterlines.

"We had to shut down that well until we repaired the damage to the line," Ortiz said.

The line was fixed by 1:30 p.m. and the well was turned on restoring water and water pressure to residents. Ortiz said that well pumps nearly a third (1,200 gallons per minute) of the city's total water pressure capacity (3,100 gallons per minute).

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused," Ortiz said. "We took emergency action on it and worked as fast as we could."

Normally the loss of one well would not affect the city's water pressure, Ortiz said, but the city was forced to shut down its second largest well in November 2003 when it tested for a high concentration of a banned pesticide residue.

The pesticide, Dibromochloropropane (DBCP), was used primarily to kill parasitic worms in soybean, cotton, vineyards, tomatoes and tree fruit crops. People who drink water with high DBCP levels for many years may experience reproductive difficulties and may have an increased risk of cancer.

Ortiz said the city is looking at purchasing a carbon filtration system to cleanse the water in that well from DBCP. The only other option would be for the city to dig a new well, which may end up developing the same problem of high DBCP levels.

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