There has been a spike in potable water leak reports received by the Department of Public Works. You may have noticed several wet spots in the pavement or water running out of the ground from the leaking water services. Although the number of leaks reported has been higher than normal, it is nothing to be alarmed about. This recent spike in water service failures is very common and typically escalates this time of year. In most cases the seasonal spike in water system failures is related to ground movement and expansion related to a seasonal change in soil temperature.
Public Works water system operators will continue to respond and replace failed water services. Please note that in the course of replacing the failed water services, there may be traffic disruptions due to the construction related activity. We appreciate your understanding and patience during the construction of water service replacements. Water services fail for a variety of reasons including ground shifting and movement (expansion and contraction), corrosion, material defects, initial workmanship, and design life. Over the years, the City has taken steps to minimize several of these contributing factors that cause water services to fail prematurely. The City’s construction standards specify high quality materials and construction techniques that, under most circumstances, all but eliminate premature water service failure from corrosion, ground movement, and workmanship.
The design life of a water service and most underground infrastructure is approximately 50 years. Considering that the City is now 50 years old, and that there are about 9,000 water service connections in Rohnert Park, we should expect about 200 water service failures per year.
The City performs water service replacement with City staff – Public Works Maintenance operators assigned to Water Distribution. Typically four staff members are needed to perform a complete water service replacement. Basic steps include: 1) underground utility location, 2) customer notification/coordination, 3) excavation, 4) installation, 5) disinfection, 6) trench compaction, and 7) repaving. City staff has taken several steps to minimize cost and impact to the public. Most notably, staff uses a unique method of “pulling” the new water service through the existing service trench, thereby minimizing the amount of street excavation needed and disruption to the public.
We rely heavily on and appreciate the community’s help in reporting water leaks so we can quickly respond and provide our services. If you need to report a water leak, please call us anytime (24-7) at (707) 588-3300.