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More work needed to repair water pipe

Published: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.

After a pipe that connects the city's water main to the aqueducts burst Thursday evening, crews worked through the night to patch up the system so the leak wouldn't disrupt water services. However, more work is needed next week to finish the repair.

The leak was discovered when water began pooling in a field off Payran Street on Thursday evening. City and county water officials had to shut down Payran to traffic as they investigated the leak, which was finally fixed shortly after 4 a.m. Friday morning.

“The pipe was just old and it broke. That pipe is probably 55 years old,” said Michael Thompson, assistant general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, on Friday morning. “We worked through the night to fix it, because the City of Petaluma really needed this pipe back online today.”

He said leaks of this nature happen two to three times a year across the county, and are usually easy to fix by patching the hole with a new weld. However, the Petaluma pipe was so degraded, the weld would not hold.

“We were able to clamp it,” Thompson said. “But we'll need to come back next week to finish the repair.”

The water agency will have a new 5-foot section of pipe fabricated early next week, which will be installed at the end of the week to replace the antiquated section of pipe. The affected pipe runs under the sidewalk along Payran Street, near Petaluma Blvd. North, and repair work will impact pedestrian traffic in the area, along with street traffic.

This leak has nothing to do with the City of Petaluma's long-term project to replace the water main along East Washington Street, Thompson said.

“We really don't know how long it's been leaking,” Thompson said. “It could be months or even a year.”

Thompson praised the city's quick response when the leak was detected Thursday. “We absolutely love working with the City of Petaluma – their guys are just great.”

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