Dozens of SLO households given ‘boil water’ notice after main line break

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About 100 households in San Luis Obispo are under a “boil water” notice until Thursday, May 27, following a main line break that occurred on Bullock Lane on May 25.

TESTING THE WATERS A boil water notice is in effect through May 27 for San Luis Obispo households that lie between the blue and purple boundaries. - MAP COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SLO
  • MAP COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SLO
  • TESTING THE WATERS A boil water notice is in effect through May 27 for San Luis Obispo households that lie between the blue and purple boundaries.
City Utilities Department Director Aaron Floyd said that while crews repaired the break the same day, it ended up entirely depleting the 400,000-gallon water tank that serves that region of the city—leaving some households at higher elevations without any water pressure.

“When that pipe broke, that’s what took the tank down,” Floyd said. “Typically we can backfeed water into the system. What happened is this one drained faster than we could get in front of it.”



As required by state law, SLO issued a boil water notice at 11 a.m. to all households that temporarily lost pressure—concerned that outside water and potential contaminants may have flowed back into pipelines. The city is now doing two separate tests of the water, 24 hours apart.

“We delivered notifications door-to-door, in both English and in Spanish,” Floyd said. “We totally feel for them.”

Affected residents are advised to boil their tap water for drinking and cooking purposes until the water is cleared, likely on Thursday morning. Bottled water will be available at the Sinsheimer Park swimming pool parking lot on May 26, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Preliminary tests of the water indicated that chlorine was present, which is important for disinfecting, the city said.

“That is a good thing,” Floyd said.

While SLO has an aging water system that is no stranger to main line breaks, Floyd said that this is the first time a boil water notice has hit the city since he arrived in 2003.

“It is super unfortunate that it happened,” Floyd said. “We’re adding redundancy to [that water tank] so this won’t happen in the future.” ∆

—Peter Johnson

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