Leaking water pipe may have caused Oakland Hills landslide

- A mudslide in the Oakland Hills might have been caused by a leaking underground water pipe.

On Monday morning. crews from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) drilled holes in the street, and then dropped microphones to listen for leaks.

"It's more of an art than a science," said EBMUD spokeswoman Tracie Morales-Noisy. "This one is proving particularly challenging."

The slide a little more than a week ago took out the side and back yards at Kevin Best's home on Oak Hill Road.

"I think it took a week to really sink in what's going on," Best said looking out at the slide area. "You kind of just want all of this to just go away, but it ain't going nowhere for a while, you know?"

Last week, preliminary testing by EBMUD showed the source was likely ground water, but further testing showed otherwise. "The lab results show that it may be treated water," Morales-Noisy explained. "Which means that it may come from our water system."

Where the water is leaking from is important because it determines who is responsible to fix it and fix the damage the leak caused.

"Yeah that would be the best case scenario if it's somebody else's fault," Best said. If it's a leak in the main line, EBMUD is responsible. If the leak is from the line that connects Best's home, it's his responsibility. "I'm glad that people are following through and want to get this resolved as much as I do," Best said, praising the EBMUD crew working in front of his house.

The mudslide may have been a byproduct of an aging infrastructure. Last year EBMUD set a record for water main breaks. "We had over a thousand main breaks," Morales-Noisy said. "Which is high for East Bay MUD."

She said more than 50-percent of EBMUD's pipes are more than 50-years old. The pipes in front of Best's home are 60-years old. As of Monday evening, there was no word on the location of the leak.

"Everybody is out looking trying to figure out what's going on," Best said appreciatively. "The most important thing to me is that my house is secure."

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