City Hides Broken Gas and Water Lines – Clogged Sewers

If you are a homeowner in Palo Alto, you may have recently received the following Notice from the City on your front door.

“Notice To Local Residents & Property Owners City of Palo Alto Crossbore Investigation by CCTV Inspection of sanitary sewer laterials Contract #12140966”

 Why is the City running Closed Circuit TV cameras up your sewer line ???

Because your utility lines may have been drilled during the City’s installation of underground communication cable in 2007-2008.  Your water line may be slowly leaking, wasting water and costing you money.   Your gas line may have been cracked and leaking gas which could cause a San Bruno 2010 type catastrophe when 38 homes were destroyed and 8 people were killed.  And your sewer line may have been cracked causing drains to slow or clog completely requiring drain cleaning or complete and expensive sewer line reconstruction.

How did this Utility damage occurr ???

It probably started back in 2007-2008 when the City was installing communications cable under the sidewalks in front of houses in Town.   This work was done with a new technology called a Horizontal Boring machine.  These excavators were supposedly able to dig and pull cable horizontally underground for up to 1,000 feet without hitting a water, sewer or gas line and without the expensive excavation of sidewalks and roads.

But it turns out the Horizontal Boring technology was not safe.

By posting the “Notice of Crossbore Investigation,” the City obviously  suspects, (or may already know),  that they have drilled through the sewer  and utility lines of propery owners or they would not be spending money on a ‘Crossbore sewer Investigation.’

Has any property been damaged by the City’s drilling?

Our house had its sewer line destroyed by a horizontal driller in 2007 or 2008.

At first we thought our sewer line was clogged with tree roots but after several Service calls by Roto Rooter and after buying our own ‘Rooter’ machine we had the sewer line inspected by  CC TV camera (just as the City is doing now), and found that the sewer line had been destroyed under the middle of the sidewalk in front of our house where a Communications Cable had been pulled underground by a Horizontal Borer some months before.

The City refused to fix the crushed cast steel sewer pipe even though it was under the sidewalk.  So we hired a Plumbing Company who obtained the permit, dug up our front yard and sidewalk and installed a new sewer line for $ 7,000.   During the work, our handyman, the plumber from the Plumbing Company and the City inspector all  saw a communication cable lying in the cracked steel sewer pipe with obvious damage done by a ‘horizontal driller.’  The City Inspector  said that we could file a claim against the City or go to Small Claims but the City would just deny responsibility and we wouldn’t get a dime.    And that is what happened.

Until the City posted the ‘Notice … of Crossbore Investigaton’ on our front door in March 2012, we had forgotten the whole matter.   But now we have this new City  Notice posted on our front door,  essentially admitting that there may be damage caused by the City’s ‘crossboring’ of utility lines.

Our house was built in 1949 and it has had  62 years free of trouble except for the few months around the time of the City’s horizontal drilling.   Coincidence???

Has anyone else been the victim of  ‘Crossboring Horizontal Drillers?’  

I spoke with  ‘HydroMaxUSA,’ the Inspection Contractor now looking at our City sewer lines and their contact told me by phone that it is widely known in the ‘industry’ that the ‘Horizontal Drillers’ were sloppy and careless in their work and sometimes did damage gas, water and sewer lines.  In fact, his own home had been damaged in this way several years ago so he was personally familiar with the issue.

What does this mean to you???  

By this ‘Notice’  it’s clear that  the City of Palo Alto knows it damaged utility lines and the City is now trying to locate the trouble before something serious like a gas explosion destroys a house or kills someone as happened  in San Bruno September 2010 when 38 homes were destroyed and 8  people were killed.

We know the City wrecked our sewer line, we saw it and so did our plumber and handyman and even the City Inspector.  City residents should  know that  there may be slow gas and water leaks wasting their money and endangering their property and lives right now as a result of the City’s crossboring.

If your gas or water bills have increased unreasonably over the past few years or if your sewer line is slow or had an expensive repair, your utility lines may have been damaged by the ‘crossboring’ mentioned in the City Notice.  This Crossbore Investigation costs everyone real money and the public repair costs will be astronomical, if and when the City is caught.

One Reply to “City Hides Broken Gas and Water Lines – Clogged Sewers”

  1. Hello Mick,

    I have this very situation happening (now) to a property of mine in Carlsbad, CA. The culprit is Time Warner Cable. I contacted them, but sense I will have to hire a lawyer to get any results.

    Any further information you have with your experience would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Wes Payne (760) 805 9839

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