Neighbors living near Miguel and Bemis streest are without water this evening after a water main break sent a flood washing down the street at around 4:30 PM today, a San Francisco Fire Dept. officer on the scene told the News.
The street is closed off at Miguel between Laidley and Bemis Streets. Water is off in surrounding area. Crew from the San Francisco Water Department arrived around 6:45. They will dig up the entire block and replace and fix the water pipe. A Water Dept. worker on the scene said that the water pipes were probably the original ones laid down when the area was built up in the 1930s making them nearly 80 years old.
Water Dept. worker Charlie, who declined to give his last name, told the Glen Park News that in order to locate the break, workers used iron bars to listen to the gushing water; the louder the sound, the closer they were to the break. The same technique has been used since the 1920’s.
The escaping water tore up the asphalt, exposing cobblestones underneath. Charlie said they were brought over from Europe as ballast on the ships. There might even be other layers of street even underneath the cobblestones: On Howard St., there are four layers of street, each separated by several feet. “You don’t know till you start digging”, he told the News
The water cascaded down Miguel all the way to Chenery Street. Multiple Water Dept. and Dept. of Public Works vehicles were on the scene, along with the Fire Dept.
San Francisco is awash in water main breaks right now – there are currently four in the City, Water Dept. crews said. B ecause of the cold winter, the water coming down from Hetch Hetchy is very cold and is causing trouble at the weak spots in the old pipes, they said.
By Bonnee Waldstein & Elizabeth Weise