Disaster averted as sewer and water service restored to Avalon

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City of Avalon Public Works department personnel struggle to replace a faulty value that shut down sewer and water service to the entire city. Drone photo by Glen Gustafson
Long lines of residents and tourists wait for Portable toilets on the island.
Photo by Kristy Throndson

 

At the height of the crisis, a truck brought fresh, bottled water to the Avalon community as city staff worked to repair the water system. Photo by Kristy Throndson

UPDATE—According to a notice from the city of Avalon, repairs were sufficiently completed overnight to slowly resume fresh and salt water service to all residents in the island’s main city.

Mayor Anni Marshall said Saturday it was a herculean effort to get the system back up so quickly. She said fire chief Mike Krug was the incident commander and that the city had received tremendous cooperation from the Island Company, the Conservancy, the ferries, the Chamber and other major interests on the island. “Amazing,” she said, “just amazing.”

Interim City Manager Denise Radde told the Islander that a complete report would soon be forthcoming to explain in greater detail what happened and how it was fixed.

Emergency management crews were busy on Friday as a leak in the city’s main sewer line began spewing sewage and forced an emergency shutdown to all residents while repairs were made.

City and first responders scrambled to get bottled drinking water and portable toilets to main distribution points on Avalon’s beaches and to Avalon school, where a decision was made to keep students on campus rather than send them to their homes, where there also no drinking water or sewer service.

Many restaurants on the island were forced to temporarily shut down and ferries reportedly created ad-hoc shuttles back and forth to the island during the emergency.

At points during the crisis, there were long lines of island residents and tourists waiting for service at the few open restaurants, at portable toilets and at drinking water distribution stations.

According to the notice, the fresh water and salt water systems were resumed at 7:45 a.m., Friday, while the city said it would take some hours for complete pressurization that would allow resumption to service throughout the city.

See complete details on all aspects of the emergency in next week’s Catalina Islander.

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