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Slow Response To Water Main Break Frustrates San Jose Neighborhood, 170,000 Gallons Wasted

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(CBS) Betty Yu
Betty Yu joined KPIX 5 in November 2013 as a general assign...
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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — While California is in the midst of one of its worst droughts on record, crews have taken nearly a week to respond to a water main break in a San Jose neighborhood, wasting more than 170,000 gallons.

Gallons of water have literally gone down the drain in the Willow Glen neighborhood. In fact, by our estimates, 20 gallons have spilled into this gutter every minute for nearly a week.

Water started bubbling up from the ground in front of Brian Johnston’s house last Thursday. He said the San Jose Water Company told him fixing the leak was low priority. He had no idea when they would show up, so he made a sign next to the leak saying,” It was called in on June 19th…Your tax dollars!”

“Respond quicker. I understand things happen. I’m a contractor myself, things happen, but you need to have a response time. And their response time just was not there,” Johnston said.

Bob Day of the San Jose Water Company told KPIX 5, “Well, in my opinion it didn’t take so long because of those protocols that we have to follow, we were only able to being the repair of this leak today.”

The water company said by state law, it has to notify utility companies like PG&E, so they can mark their pipelines and cables, before it starts digging in the street. The entire process can take days.

Kids on Byerley Avenue used rocks to try and save some it to water plants and lawns on the block. Others just played in it, until crews showed up to their surprise Wednesday evening.

When asked about their response, Day said, “Our response time has been excellent.”

Over six days, the water wasted works to about 173,000 gallons. That’s enough to take 12,000 showers, flush a toilet 108,000 times or for drink eight glasses of water each day for 237 years.

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