Diana San Juan

‘Aging Pipes and Heat’ Causing Water Pipe Breakage in Martinez

In the last two weeks, nine water pipes have burst sending gushing water into the streets of Martinez, leaving residents asking what is causing the ruptures.

On Sunday, a rupture closed down the corner of Escobar and Talbart streets, flooding some garages and shutting off water to some homes for several hours.

The following day, a break on the corner of Orange Street and Shell Avenue sent water into people’s homes.

"It’s still a hassle and it takes time, causes stress, unnecessary stress," said Martinez resident Colleen White.

A third breakage occurred Wednesday, White says that around midnight, water started gushing into her garage and past her front door. A city pipe two blocks away from her home suddenly bursts.

"It could be anything," she said concerned about what might be in the water. "They call it mud water but mud water could be sewage water, it could be pesticides."

White says she has to replace her family members’ birth certificates and social security cards after the water damaged them.

The Martinez Public Works superintendent says the water main breaks are happening because of a combination of aging pipes and the heat. He says, the heat causes soil to expand, which then causes the ground to move and that ultimately leads to flooding.

He added that there’s no way to predict which line could be next to burst and he anticipates more water main breaks to happen for the next three to four weeks.

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