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RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — A water main in Richmond that has been leaking for years has been fixed and the East Bay Municipal Utility District — which had long denied the seep was from their pipes — finally owned up to the problem.
The Higgins family lives next to the seepage and has fought for three years to get the city of Richmond and EBMUD to cap the leak and fix a blundered bureaucratic mess.
“I believe it was finger pointing. The city of Richmond doesn’t want to claim it. EBMUD doesn’t want to claim it,” Ann Higgins-Wibbenhorst told us.
Despite the constant flow, the water company said it couldn’t find any leaks. A Richmond city test showed it was indeed treated EBMUD water. So, utility workers finally found and fixed the leak from a 12-inch main, just one block above the seepage.
We asked EBMUD how it could possibly take three years to fix the problem or even to acknowledge it.
“We are on a hillside. And finding leaks from these pipes several feet underground is a difficult task,” Abby Figueroa, EBMUD spokesperson explained.
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Perhaps hundreds of thousands of gallons have been wasted during California’s epic drought but folks here say there’s an even bigger problem. They believe the water created a sinkhole underneath Bonita Road.
The foundation of the Higgins’ home is sinking and a GoPro camera showed there’s a large hole under the house.
“I really didn’t want my mom to live in the house right now. Because this house scares me with this hole underneath it,” Angela Higgins-Vroom said.
EBMUD is investigating whether the the damage is related to the leak. The Higgins family hopes it won’t take another three years to determine who’s responsible.
“They’re disgusting, it’s just embarassing. For the amount of money we pay them each month to get this kind of service, it’s unacceptable,” said Ann Higgins-Wibbenhorst
The Higgins family has filed a claim against EBMUD and the City of Richmond.