El Dorado County pipe fails –500 lose water

Crews work Tuesday to repair a rupture in the El Dorado Irrigation District’s Pleasant Oak water main.
Crews work Tuesday to repair a rupture in the El Dorado Irrigation District’s Pleasant Oak water main. Photo courtesy El Dorado Irrigation District

Repairs were expected Tuesday evening to a ruptured water pipe that left 500 customers without water in a rural portion of El Dorado County.

An additional 5,700 customers continue to be asked to limit water use until the broken water main is fixed.

The water line broke early Monday morning, sending El Dorado Irrigation District crews to the main, which is located in a fairly remote area east of Diamond Springs.

The broken pipe is a half-mile south of Pleasant Valley Road in a steep, wooded area. The remote site has been a challenge for workers.

Crews thought they had fixed the problem Monday, but the repair failed. About 2 a.m. Tuesday, fresh crews came on board to attempt another repair.

While crews continue to work on the break, the district asked customers not to use water for anything other than essential purposes. Running the dishwasher and clothes washer, outdoor watering and car washing were listed as non-essential.

The district wants to avoid losing any more water pressure or running out of water in storage tanks.

“We are trying to keep the 5,700 folks with water,” said Jesse Saich, public information officer for the district.

However, the 500 without water are asked to be patient, Saich said.

The district, which has 40,000 connections or customers, provided a map on its website that shows the area affected by the water use limitations. The map shows a large area south of Placerville around Diamond Springs and on the north side of Highway 50 near Missouri Flat Road.

It is unclear why the 24-inch pipe broke, but a supervisor said the problem looked like a “pressure break,” said Saich.

When normal pressure is restored, the district noted, the water may be slightly discolored or there may be air in the pipes. To fix that, customers should allow an outside faucet to run until the water is clear or the air has escaped.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews