TRUCKEE (CBS13) – Water flowing in the Truckee River is a normal everyday sight, but an overflowing water tower flooding part of Interstate 80 isn’t something you don’t see every day.
“A series of unfortunate events,” said Steven Poncelet with Truckee Donner Public Utility District.READ MORE: Tree Trimmers In Short Supply As People Prepare For Fires
The utility district told CBS13 the watershed along the interstate stemmed from a contractor hitting a main water line while working on a town road project around midnight Thursday to early Friday morning. But before water crews could get there, some of the utility’s valves were turned to stop the leak.
“That ended up exposing one of our pressure zones in our water distribution systems to another pressure zone. That ended up in the overflow of one of our water tanks,” Poncelet said.
And that led to a pool of water on the highway and led to a valve failure in front of the Church of the Mountains on Church Street in downtown Truckee.
“From what I can tell, the water main burst early this morning,” Cathie Foley, the church administrator, said. “And created a beautiful geyser that flooded the church.”
The water flowed from the front entrance of the church down into the basement area used for homeless outreach efforts.
“We canceled our in-person worship coming up on Sunday and we’re going to take the steps necessary to put back together so we can continue to offer homeless services in the lower level, as well as, meet together in person,” Foley said. “The first thing I thought of is we’re in a drought and there’s no water anywhere.”READ MORE: Dixie Fire Jumps In Size, Now 8th Largest Wildfire In California History
CBS13 asked what kind of impact this kind of leak has on the area’s water supply given the current drought conditions. The utility district said they’re in a unique position when it comes to the water supply and drought.
Water supply systems there are a groundwater system. Whatever water from this leak that isn’t evaporated goes back into the system.
“Think of it as a bowl,” Poncelet said. “Anything that flows into that system is going to go back into the bowl. So when we flow water on a hill like that, it flows back into the system or into the river. But, part of the overall supply of our watershed.”
The once-flooded highway is clear and moving and crews are pounding away fixing the damage in front of the church.
As the utility looks into how to prevent this in the future, the soaked house of God is looking forward, too.
“The church has been here since 1869. So, this flood won’t make a difference,” Foley said.
The utility district says it was able to get water back online to all customers this morning and working with the church when it comes to the damage that was caused.MORE NEWS: Authorities Identify All 6 Victims Of Truckee Jet Crash
It’s still investigating how or if there will be any repercussions for the water line being broken.