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Water line breaks in downtown San Luis Obispo, partially closing road

Crews work to repair a water main break at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Mill Street in San Luis Obispo, which caused traffic delays and water outages on Monday afternoon.
Crews work to repair a water main break at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Mill Street in San Luis Obispo, which caused traffic delays and water outages on Monday afternoon. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A water line break in the 1700 block of Broad Street closed the road between Leff and Church streets on Thursday morning, according to a Facebook post from the San Luis Obispo Utilities Department.

Crews worked to repair the line while motorists detoured around the closure. By about noon, crews had repaired the break, described as a minor leak caused by an issue with the line’s connection, according to Marcus Henderson, the city’s water distribution supervisor.



The line that broke wasn’t a main, and only one house was affected, Henderson said.

This is the second water line break in San Luis Obispo this week. On Monday, a water main that was originally installed in the 1930s broke at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Mill Street, causing road closures and traffic delays.

San Luis Obispo has a lot of clay soils that are expansive in nature, which can affect the pipes, according to Aaron Floyd, the city’s deputy director of the Utilities Department.

For instance, if there is a small rock against a line, heavy rain will cause the soil to expand and cause that rock to push on the pipe and eventually create a pinhole leak in the line.

Henderson said, while the weather conditions do affect the city’s older water mains, “that was probably not the case with this one.”

The line that broke Thursday was plastic, and only about 10 to 15 years old, he said.

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