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CalWater crews busy in Atherton Thursday

Crews needed nearly 11 hours to repair "slow leak"

California Water Service Company repair crews were busy for nearly 11 hours Thursday in Atherton repairing what the company called a "slow leak" that flooded the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas at Atherton Avenue.

Bear Gulch District Manager Dawn Smithson said the leak, reported around 12:30 p.m., "was particularly tricky" because there are two large mains in that intersection and crews weren't sure which one was leaking. Ms. Smithson said the main in that area is about seven feet underground and near other underground utilities "which we need to be very careful around while digging."

While drivers may have been slowed down by the water, Ms. Smithson said that the main was only turned off for about an hour between 10 and 11 p.m., and only residents of Muberry Lane, off Atherton Avenue, were affected by a temporary drop in water pressure.

A permanent repair at the location will have to wait for parts to arrive, she said, and is currently scheduled for Monday.

Ms. Smithson said breaks should happen less often in the future because the company is working to replace all its old mains. The company is replacing three miles of mains each year, prioritizing those that have had multiple leaks, or are in sensitive areas such as near a health care facility or a creek where chlorinated water could kill wildlife, she said.

CalWater also has plans for cases where additional resources are needed to deal with emergencies, Ms. Smithson said, ranging from the company's contractor pulling in an extra crew or calling on CalWater's nearby Bayshore and Los Altos districts to help out.

In a larger emergency, such as a regional earthquake, other Cal Water districts outside of the immediate area can help, she said.

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