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Napa reports broken water main, sewer pipe overflow

Napa reports broken water main, sewer pipe overflow


Napa city and sanitation officials have confirmed a water main failure earlier this month that triggered a sewer pipe overflow and a discharge into Napa Creek near downtown.

The incident took place shortly before 4 p.m. Jan. 6 at the north end of Behrens Street, according to Andrew Damron, technical services director for the Napa Sanitation District.

NapaSan crews arriving at the scene found a city-owned water main that had broken and caused the overflow of about 1,550 gallons of water from the sewer system into a catch basin at the end of Behrens Street, where the storm drain system discharges into Napa Creek, according to Damron.

The water main break caused a high-pressure flow that damaged the nearby NapaSan sewer line, causing it to fail as well and take in a heavy flow from the water pipe, he said in an email this week.

City workers turned off the water main at 4:32 p.m. to cut off the overflow and repaired the pipe by 10 p.m., and a NapaSan crew repaired the nearby sewer line by 11:30 p.m., according to Damron.

NapaSan is required to notify the state Office of Emergency Services of any overflows greater than 1,000 gallons and post details to an online reporting system, Damron said.

A Napa Valley Register reader reported the incident to the newspaper Jan. 15, inquiring why the pipe break did not trigger a general neighborhood alert by the city or NapaSan.

No warning signs were posted around the pipes because of the lack of access to Napa Creek, according to Damron, who said the pipe failures cut off sewer service to only one residential property.

You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or


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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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