EBMUD, Richmond In Dispute Over Who Should Fix Endless Water Leak

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Da-Lin_BIO-HEAD Da Lin
Da Lin is an award-winning journalist at KPIX 5 News. He joined KPIX...
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RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — While the Bay Area can’t afford to waste a single drop of water during this drought, a leak in the East Bay has been going on for years, and no one can decide whose job it is to fix it.

Water has been bubbling out of Bonita Road, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for about three years. Millions of gallons of water have been wasted.

There’s a much bigger problem than just wasted water, neighbors say the runoff is causing the ground to sink and erode.

Christine Rose worries her street and her house could collapse, because of the damage underneath.

“This is dangerous. I don’t have a choice. I don’t have somewhere else,” Rose told KPIX 5.

Rose provided video of a private engineer inserting a metal rod into Bonita Road. Video showed the probe dropping straight into the ground, about 3-4 feet with no resistance.

“With the probe that goes all the way into the ground, that shows that there might be a void underneath the street,” said Andy Yeung, Senior Civil Engineer for the City of Richmond.

Yeung said if it’s not fixed, a sinkhole could open up. “It needs to be fixed, for sure, as soon as possible,” he said.

Rose said the ground has dropped a few inches in recent months and the house foundation is damaged.

“There’s a hole under my foundation and I don’t know what’s holding up my house anymore.”

Both Richmond city engineers and Rose said the East Bay Municipal Utility District is responsible for the leak.

A spokeswoman for the agency said workers came out three times in the last month and couldn’t find a leak. She said this is not an EBMUD problem. It could be ground water or someone’s water pipe leaking.

“My neighbors are not that stupid, they’re not going to pay a couple of thousand dollars per month on their water bill,” Rose said.

Richmond has also spent thousands to study the leak. It concluded, this is treated EBMUD water.

“I am frustrated.  You can’t even understand what its like,” Rose said.

Rose wants the water company to stop the leak, fix the street and her house. “This is East Bay MUD water, quit passing the buck,” she said.

KPIX 5 asked several times for an interview, but the spokesperson for the East Bay Municipal Utility District refused to talk on camera. She said over the phone, though they couldn’t find any leaks in the system.

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