How will San Diego’s next water main break affect you?

Last week, a water main break ruptured in Point Loma and impeded the community’s water access for hours. While this incident may have been comparatively tame, main breaks are becoming an epidemic across Southern California. Mission Beach and The Gaslamp Quarter recently experienced disruptive breaks, while our neighbors to the north, Los Angeles, have been hit with one rupture after another. With widespread incidents like these, it’s only a matter of time before a pipe bursts in your neighborhood. Will you be ready?

Before we discuss the appropriate response, let’s quickly cover what causes water main breaks in the first place.

Old pipes

The biggest culprit for bursting pipes is age. A pipe can only sustain so much water pressure for so long before it fails. The problem is that there’s simply no way to predict when a pipe is going to explode. We can make educated guesses, but unless we’re prepared to repair or replace every single old line in the city, officials have to try to predict where the most vulnerable pipes are located, which is difficult at best.

Construction mistakes

As the incident in Point Loma taught us, not all ruptured lines result from old age. Sometimes they’re the consequence of plain old human error. Unfortunately, there’s not much anyone can do about that. Accidents happen. The best takeaway from last week is to have your flood preparation in place if you know that utility crews are working in the area. Anticipating a flood might seem overly cautious, but then again, not being prepared can spell damage to your home, and possibly put your family at risk.

Follow these steps in case of a flood:

  • Seek dry land
  • Call authorities
  • Avoid tap water

Seek dry land

If a water main breaks in your neighborhood and floods the streets and even your house, the first course of action is to find refuge in dry land. If you’re inside, this may mean getting up to the second floor. If you don’t have a second story, you might consider the roof. Obviously, though, only try climbing up as a last resort. Remember, the goal here is to escape danger, not embrace it. If you happen to be on the street during a flood, run away from the water, never towards it. Currents are often stronger than they appear.

Call the authorities

If the flooding does, in fact, come from a neighborhood main, you should call the authorities as soon as you find safety. The local water company will assist you as soon as possible. However, it also doesn’t hurt to call plumbing-focused technicians either. As the best plumber in Vista, Boyd Rogers may be able to help drain the water from your home, assess any damage, and cover any necessary repairs that are required as a result of the flood.

Avoid tap water

A major rupture of a community line may have consequences that aren’t immediately apparent. In the event that your neighborhood floods, it’s recommended that you avoid tap water for at least a few hours as it may have become contaminated. Typically, utility companies will test the quality of the water as soon as possible, but to be on the safe side, drink bottled water for the time being.

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