Contractor breaks water line, some property damaged in Glenshire
August 21, 2003
A water line was broken in the Glenshire subdivision, which spewed approximately 18,000 gallons of water into the street and onto residential property Aug. 18.
According to Truckee Donner Public Utility District Water Superintendent Mark Thomas, this was the third water line the contractor, FW Carson Company, has broken a water line in that area.
He said the utility district marks where water, sewer, electrical and gas lines are for the contractor. The district is allowed for 24 inches of error when marking, and Thomas said he was thought the marking was within the boundaries.
However, he and utility district water system engineer Neil Kaufman both said it was an accident and accidents sometimes happen.
That doesn’t seem to ease the mind of the residents in the area, however.
Becky Comeaux, a Glenshire homeowner and Truckee resident for 12 years, said she received a call at work from her daughter, and rushed home to find her front yard “under water up above our ankles.”
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While no water seeped into the house, a walkway on the side of the house was almost completely immersed in water, and part of her flowerbed sustained water damage and had to be dug up to fix the leak.
She said although she was upset and distraught about the water leaking out, the damage it was causing to her and her neighbor’s houses and the fact that “the contractor (Dennis Drumm) disappeared, the silver lining was the people who helped.
Comeaux said PUD employees Paul Rose, George Caballero and Jef Shepaard, along with self-employed Buzz Ioppol came to the rescue. “All of them went above and beyond,” she said. “George was in the middle of the street, totally immersed in mud and water trying to find the main line shut-off valve.”
According to Thomas, the water was on for approximately three hours. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Comeaux’s front lawn and side walkway were still wet.
Comeaux attributed the accident to the fact that FW Carson Company was the lowest bidder for the Glenshire water line project. “Sometimes the lower bid is not worth it,” she said. She added that FW Carson was the low bid by $2,000.
Kaufman refuted this claim, though. “If we had chosen a higher bidder,” he said, “it could have happened. The contractor is relying on information (the markings) from us.” He also mentioned, “The marks are not 100 percent accurate.”
In addition, Kaufman said the damage done to the street would have been done anyway. Part of the water line project, he said, was to replace the main water lines, the fire hydrants and the water meters. “We would have disrupted that much. It was part of the plan,” he said.
The PUD assured Comeaux her and her neighbors’ properties would be fixed by the contractor, she said. Although 18,000 gallons of water was lost, Thomas said that part would only cost approximately $18.