By Misty Volaski
A water main broke late Wednesday morning on East Ojai Avene in front of Hakane Sushi, in plain view of the Golden State Water Company’s Ojai office. Hakane Sushi employees noticed the break around 11:15 a.m. and called the fire department, which, along with members of the Ojai Police Department, brought out cones and caution tape to direct traffic around the break. Soon after arriving, Fire Station 21 moved its engine down the road, saying they were worried about the possibility of a sink hole.
A source said that they had noticed a small leak a week before, and that the owners of Hakane Sushi and its building were notified. However, the source was unsure if Golden State Water Company was notified, and Golden State Superintendent Lance Contreras said he had received no reports. “And we drive by there every day,” so there was a good chance that he would have seen it.”
Contreras said Golden State Water crews were able to shut off the water to this “routine break” quickly, within 15 minutes, although witnesses said water appeared to continue rushing out for about 20 minutes longer. Repairs were slated for completion before the end of the business day, and a few E. Ojai Ave. businesses from Bryant Street to Shady Lane had no water until the repairs were complete. Businesses on Bryant Circle reported brown water coming from the tap, but Contreras said this not dangerous to drink, and is merely an aesthetic issue. “This is not a health issue,” he said. “There is silt at the bottom of the mains, and when we have a break like this, the water velocity increases, and the particles get stirred up.”