Water restored to Birdland; flood cleanup continues

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SAN DIEGO -- Water service was restored Thursday morning to several houses and apartments in a Birdland-area neighborhood left without overnight following a water main break that flooded garages and temporarily disrupted service at nearby hospitals.

Corrosion likely caused the 64-year-old 18-inch cast-iron pipe to break about 4 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Meadow Lark Drive and Hummingbird Lane, according to Arian Collins, spokesman for the city's Public Utilities Department. Crews had the main shut down so repair work could begin about an hour and 20 minutes later.

Homes and businesses in the 2600 through 2800 blocks of Meadow Lark Drive and in the 7900 block of Nightingale Lane were left without running water overnight, but service was fully restored by 7 a.m., according to Collins.

However, Meadow Lark Drive remained closed to traffic between Nightingale and Hummingbird lanes while city street crews continued to make repairs. Collins estimated that the roadways would be reopened around noon.

Several medical facilities temporarily lost water service, including Rady Children's Hospital, but service was restored to the pediatric medical center by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, spokesman Carlos Delgado said. Also affected were Sharp Memorial, Sharp Mary Birch and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospitals.

All the hospitals have emergency stores of water, and none reported any adverse effects on patient care.

The nearby county juvenile court and detention center also was affected to some degree, but court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said juvenile court was open today and those with court business should plan to appear.

Residents told news crews that the overflow had flooded some residential garages on Nightingale Way. Live television shots showed people wading, swimming and floating on inflatable rubber rafts in ponds of water in front of homes and apartment complexes in the area.

The city of San Diego is in the midst of a $5.85 million program to replace and improve its water system infrastructure, which includes replacing neighborhood cast-iron water mains by 2017, according to Collins.

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