Guests at the DoubleTree Hotel are without running water after a water main broke Tuesday afternoon and cut the supply to the whole Berkeley Marina area.
A 12-inch main located alongside the freeway by University Avenue and Frontage Road broke around 4 p.m., EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Polk told Berkeleyside.
Technically, only 48 EBMUD customers are without water, but given that they include the Marina DoubleTree hotel, as well Skates restaurant, the impact is significant.
The main break happened in the vicinity of the homeless encampment that is situated across Frontage Road from Seabreeze. Polk said people living there were asked to move to allow crews to access the area. (Berkeleyside is trying to confirm this with Berkeley Police Department and the city but has not heard back yet.)
EBMUD crews have been working since the break to find a fix but the task is a challenge, Polk said, as the main is deeply buried and there is a lot of water in the affected area.
“Crews have been dewatering so they can make the repair,” Polk said. “They need to proceed carefully so the equipment doesn’t get stuck.” Pumps take the water away so they can see what’s going on then they need to call in PG&E so utilities can be marked before they proceed with the repair,” she said.
EBMUD got notice this morning about water seepage in the area and went out to investigate, Polk said.
Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso was on the scene around 8:30 p.m. She spoke with the DoubleTree hotel’s Assistant manager Christopher Ross, who said the hotel had set up six portable toilets for guests, as well as hand-washing stations. They are also giving guests containers of water in their rooms. Ross said in his five years working for the hotel he had never encountered a situation like this. While he talked to Berkeleyside Ross was fielding calls from guests asking about when the water might be restored. Asked whether guests were being understanding, Ross said, “Some people are.”
EBMUD posted a tweet around 4:30 p.m. alerting people about the main break and asking that people avoid the area.
Traffic alert: EBMUD is repairing a broken water main at University Avenue and Frontage Road in Berkeley, California. Northbound Frontage Road is closed. Please avoid the area if possible. pic.twitter.com/EPQtLyrhVk
— EBMUD (@ebmud) January 15, 2020
When water will be restored is an open question. Although EBMUD is predicting on its website a 4 a.m restoration, Polk said there are too many unknowns at this point to be sure.”It’s like a kitchen remodel,” she said. “It’s complicated so I’m hesitant to say.”
Water is certain to be out overnight, she added.
EBMUD does not know what caused the main break.
“Our goal is to get the water back on,” Polk said, adding: “Main breaks are always a good reminder to have emergency water storage in hand for situations like this or an earthquake.”
This developing story was updated as we gathered new information.