Tag Archives: East Bay Municipal Utility District

EBMUD delivers pipes to Panoramic Hill via helicopter

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District has hired a helicopter to lift about 2,500 feet of pipe into the Panoramic Way neighborhood.

The red helicopter started lifting the pipe around 10 a.m. and will complete its task around 2 p.m., according to EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Pook.

The roads leading up Panoramic Hill are so windy that trucks could not carry the 40-foot-long lengths of pipe, she said. EBMUD has cut some of pipe in half, but even getting that length up the roads is a challenge, she said. … Continue reading »

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EBMUD: Berkeley water leak repairs will cause outage

Water leak caused by broken gate valve on EBMUD Dwight and Fulton. Photo: Ted Friedman
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EBMUD says it will repair a water leak today at Fulton Street and Dwight Way in Berkeley that started Friday evening. The repair work will cause some customers in the area to be without water, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Tracie Morales. She could not confirm how many will be affected, but they will be notified.

The leak was caused by a broken gate valve, according to Morales. The gate valve starts and stops the flow of water through a pipe, she said.

Water was escaping the pipe and covering the street throughout the weekend and into Tuesday. On Saturday, Berkeleyside contributing photographer David Yee described the water as “bubbling out” of a small, red cover in the street. “The water pressure isn’t so strong that it’s gushing into the air or anything, just creating a pond about a half-block long in either direction of the intersection.” On Sunday Yee said EBMUD had set up a dam of sorts Saturday with sandbags or something similar “so that the water leaking out of the red cover flows into a storm drain instead of flooding the intersection.” On Monday afternoon, Yee said there were “gallons and gallons flowing straight down the storm drain.”
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EBMUD repairs burst pipes in West Berkeley

Burst water main, Gilman and Cornell. Photo: EBMUD
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Crews from the East Bay Municipal Utility District were in Berkeley over the weekend to repair two old pipes at Gilman Street and Cornell Avenue that burst early Sunday morning, causing major disruption.

Water service had been restored to all customers by 5 a.m. Monday, said Tracie Morales-Noisy, a spokeswoman for EBMUD. She said the leaks were a good reminder for customers to keep an adequate emergency water supply well stocked, in case of service disruptions large and small.

Morales-Noisy said EBMUD first got reports of problems at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, and ultimately repaired two pipes. A piece of 79-year-old cast-iron pipe on Gilman was removed, and a 67-year-old pipe on Cornell was repaired.

Morales-Noisy said about 50 customers were without water during the repairs. … Continue reading »

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UPDATE: Berkeley water won’t be fixed until after 10 p.m.; 650 customers have no service

EBMUD is at work in Berkeley after a water main break. Photo: Citizen reporter
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Update, 3:30 p.m. North Berkeley water repairs are taking longer than planned and won’t be working again until after 10 p.m. Friday, EBMUD has announced. Full restoration may even last into early Saturday morning, according to an advisory released just after 3 p.m.

This water service outage has been extended to multiple residential blocks in the Berkeley hills, including Euclid Avenue, Marin Avenue, Arlington Avenue and other surrounding streets. Approximately 650 customers are without water service,” according to the statement. The pipe that broke was 63 years old. 

In addition to the challenging steep terrain in the vicinity of the broken main and the need for deep excavation, this is a busy residential area. Crews have been onsite continuously for more than 24 hours to isolate this broken transmission main and reroute water to serve the affected areas. Water storage and pressure in the area have been impacted. After a complicated hillside excavation, crews are now repairing the pipeline.”Continue reading »

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EBMUD responding to North Berkeley water main break

EBMUD is at work in Berkeley after a water main break. Photo: Citizen reporter
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The East Bay Municipal Utility District is responding to North Berkeley due to a water main break Thursday.

According to EBMUD spokeswoman Tracie Morales-Noisy, a 16-inch steel main broke Thursday at Euclid and Marin avenues.

She said she was still trying to get information about when the break happened, how many customers had been impacted and when repairs might be complete.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Morales-Noisy told Berkeleyside that the agency is still trying to assess the situation.

“Before we do any repairs, they need to … have the utilities marked before they do any type of digging,” she said.  … Continue reading »

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EBMUD suspends drought restrictions as East Bay exceeds water conservation goals

2016-05-EBMUD Pardee Reservoir
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EBMUD  has suspended its 25% drought surcharge for all customers, as well as mandatory restrictions on water use, after reservoirs have filled up and efforts by East Bay residents to conserve water conservation have yielded impressive results.

Reservoir storage levels are at 93% of average, according to EBMUD and customers’ conservation levels have consistently been 24% below 2013 use.

Read more about the California drought and how it affects Berkeley.

“Our customers are doing a great job,” said EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Polk. “We will continue to work with all customer groups to keep conservation going!”

EBMUD’s decision goes into effect on July 1. … Continue reading »

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Rain has abated, but Berkeley is beset by water problems!

Damage to the street after water main break. Photo Isobel White
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The rain may have abated for a while, but that doesn’t mean Berkeley isn’t experiencing some serious water issues.

A water-main break at Grant Street, between Delaware and Francisco, caused streets to be flooded Friday morning. Berkeleyside was first alerted to the news at around 11 a.m. by Isobel White on Twitter who pointed us to photos taken by her daughter, Norrie White, of the surging water. White then reported that both EBMUD and BFD were on scene: “I think they turned off main but still flowing,” she said as of about 11:40 a.m. This was followed by the comment that the water was “destroying the street.”

Tracie Morales, a spokeswoman for EBMUD, confirmed to Berkeleyside at around 1:40 p.m. that a water-main broke at 1734 Grant St.

“We have crews repairing a main break on a 12-inch cast-iron pipe,” Morales said. A total of 28 customers are out of service in the areas of Grant and Virginia streets, and EBMUD estimates repairing the break will take “a few hours,” she said.

Morales said Berkeley Fire Department was the first to respond to the incident, and was on scene at 10:50 a.m. to shut down the water. By 11:01 a.m., an EBMUD investigator had arrived to conduct an investigation and to call out a crew to make repairs. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Sierra Club’s eucalyptus management policy is the right approach for East Bay Hills

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Eucalyptus trees are magnificent and picturesque, but they are inherently dangerous and invasive, depriving native plants of the chance to thrive wherever they grow.

In some cases, exotic plants can co-exist with natives, but, in the case of blue gum eucalyptus, this is not the case. The species has evolved in the extraordinarily harsh, dry climate of Australia to grow and spread quickly to then be burned to ashes in catastrophic wildfires.

According to Jared Farmer, in his recent book … Continue reading »

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Proposed 130% sewer fee rate increase now up to voters

The city of Berkeley has extensive sewer system maintenance planned in coming years. Photo: City of Berkeley
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Berkeley officials approved a five-year sewer fee rate hike Tuesday night, and now it’s up to property owners to determine whether it will stick.

One thousand gallons of water currently costs about $4 to use in Berkeley for the average single family home. Beginning July 1, that same amount of water would cost about $6, an increase of 46%. By 2020, 1,000 gallons of water would cost $9.55, a 130% increase over the current rate.

The city says it needs to increase fees for sewer service to close a projected gap in the cost to run its sanitary sewer system and comply with federal mandates to improve the system in coming years. The rates take into account decreased water consumption during the drought, which staff believe will help moderate the amount property owners ultimately pay. Staff plan to return to council annually to report on system costs and fees, which council could potentially reduce if the city finds it is bringing in more money than it needs.

The unanimous Berkeley City Council vote Tuesday triggers a Proposition 218 process, which requires voter approval by property owners before local governments can increase certain fees. The city plans to mail notices to property owners this week, set to include a “protest ballot.” Ballots must be cast by June 26 by a majority of property owners to stop the increase, which otherwise will go into effect July 1. … Continue reading »

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City, already cutting, digs deeper to slash its water use

A rousing game of capture the flag occupies city of Berkeley campers until their parents pick them up. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Don’t expect lush green parks in Berkeley this summer, unless the watering is a surprise from the skies.

Already slashing its water use 26% last year, the city is taking steps to cut even more, it announced last week. Many of the cutbacks are required by Berkeley’s water supplier, the East Bay Municipal Water District (EBMUD), and/or by the state. They include:

  • No watering of street medians
  • Minimizing vehicle watering
  • Landscape watering, such as in parks and city grounds, twice a week before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. (already in effect last year)

“The City is also . . . exploring the use of reclaimed water for irrigation and street cleaning, and researching options for converting certain landscapes to more drought-tolerant ground cover,” the city said in a recent press release.

Read more on how the drought is affecting Berkeley.

Worth noting: The city’s only water fountain at the Marin Circle uses recycled water, which means it can be kept on as it meets a new state requirement calling for a shutdown of all fresh water fountains. … Continue reading »

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Water conservation gets serious with restrictions, fines

EBMUD employee Mark Bolton at Camanche. Photo: EBMUD
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Hosing down your driveway, watering your yard more than twice a week, or washing your car with a hose without a shutoff nozzle are forbidden in Berkeley, as the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) faces its worst water supply in nearly 40 years.

These are a few of the new mandatory conservation restrictions announced last week by the utility district, which is seeking a 20% water reduction for all of its 1.3 million customers, compared to 2013.

The yard watering must be before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. and not within 48 hours of a measurable rainfall, and sidewalks can’t be washed either. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley residents complain about ‘horrible’ water taste

Pardee Reservoir. Photo: EBMUD
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The drinking water for 1 million customers of East Bay Municipal Utilities District had an “off” odor and taste over the weekend and, while EBMUD is fixing the issue, customers might have to get used to it.

The culprit? The drought.

EBMUD usually draws the drinking water for the majority of its customers from the bottom of Pardee Reservoir, about 100 miles east of Berkeley, according to Abby Figueroa, a spokeswoman for EBMUD. But on Thursday, the water district started taking water from the top portion of the reservoir. The water there is warmer and contains some algae, so even though it was treated before gushing into pipes in Berkeley, Oakland and elsewhere, there was a peculiar smell.

Read more about the California drought.

It takes about two days for the water to make its way to the Bay Area and when it arrived Saturday there was a flurry of emails and tweets to Berkeleyside about it. Figueroa said EBMUD has gotten about 200 emails, tweets, and phone calls about the taste as well.

Residents described the water as tasting like “raw meat,” or having a “metallic taste.” Others said it was “gross-smelling,” “horrible” or “weird.” … Continue reading »

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EPA settlement calls for repairs to East Bay’s faulty sewage lines; Berkeley to pay $133,500 civil penalty

Windsurfer on the bay. Photo, taken on May 28, 2014, by dogefrost
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The recent settlement of a lawsuit between the Environmental Protection Agency and several cities, including Berkeley, will lead to major repairs of the East Bay’s deteriorating sewage system — and less wastewater discharge into the bay.

The federal government had sued Berkeley, Oakland, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), among others, to stop sewage overflows that released hundreds of millions of gallons of raw or partially untreated sewage water in the Bay. The spillage could be particularly acute during heavy rains, as storm water enters the East Bay sewage system through flaws in the aging pipes. … Continue reading »

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