Residents in the Cañada Cove neighborhood started their Independence Day holiday with some unexpected news: Water would be turned off for about 12 hours. Five days later, the water is flowing again, but they still cannot drink it.
Park officials say the water needs to be tested before it is deemed safe for consumption. Cañada Cove property manager Leroy Daniels said the holiday weekend delayed the process of sending out water samples to be tested for safety.
“It’s been a hectic few days,” said Daniels, who has managed the property with his wife for 19 years.
At about 7 p.m. on July 3, a water main break in the mobile home park caused the park’s management team to turn off water to about 350 homeowners for an extended period of time.
Coastside County Water District provides the mobile home park its main water meter. The park then operates its own system of private lines off of the main.
“It was quite an impressive event. There was a running stream of water down the street outside my house,” said Cañada Cove resident Tom Devine.
Some residents of the park, which is reserved for people over the age of 55, called emergency services when they noticed the water break, according to Devine. Coastside Fire Protection District arrived on the scene, as did someone from the park’s management and maintenance team.
Water was restored to the park about 12 hours later, but until the water is tested homeowners are advised to use the water only for flushing or showering, not drinking.
Daniels explained all labs he contacted for testing were closed over the holiday weekend. He is now working with Bennett Marine Utility, a private testing lab based in Burlingame.
Daniels said on Monday water samples have not yet been taken. He expects samples will be sent out on Wednesday, and hopes water will be cleared to drink by Thursday.
Representatives of the public utility say the rupture occurred on private property and that there is nothing they can do.
“They are a private entity and this is their exclusive responsibility,” said Coastside County Water District General Manager David Dickson.
Longtime Cañada Cove resident Barbara Dunlap said it’s been frustrating figuring out what is happening and when potable water will be back in the park.
“It’s cost a lot of time and is a hassle,” Dunlap said. “It’s crisis control. The crisis has not been dealt with. We need more communication.”
Until the water is deemed safe to consume, residents can use bottled water or boil water for at least one minute, so that it is fully sterilized.
Daniels has supplied water bottles at the park’s main office for residents to use.
Devine is one of the leaders of the Cañada Cove Organized Plan for Emergencies, known in the community as COPE. It’s a grassroots effort to organize people in the mobile home park to be prepared for an emergency and creates an action plan for how to react after an emergency has happened.
“COPE got the word out pretty well on Wednesday night,” he said of the water main break. “A whole bunch of us turned on our radios to be alerted to this. It was good practice.”
Joyce Logan, who is also a resident in Cañada Cove and a member of COPE, said the emergency preparedness training helped this weekend.
“It was a slow-moving emergency,” Logan said.
For now, Logan said it’s about turning to bottled water, “as long as Safeway has enough,” she light heartedly stated.
Both Devine and Logan noted that the park’s management team responded quickly to the problem and helped distribute bottled water to residents who needed it.
“Everyone has been trying to take care of their neighbors, but it’s been difficult,” Dunlap said.