SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - News release from Incident Command regarding utility and road system restorations to mudslide affected areas.
Barring weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances, it is anticipated that most major utilities as well as County roads will be back in service in the areas of Montecito outside the areas impacted by the flood and debris flow. These are areas bounded by Montecito Creek, San Ysidro Creek and Romero Creek.
Areas impacted by the flood and debris flow will require extensive efforts to provide utilities and road access. Once the utilities are restored in the other areas, decisions will be made on the rapid return of residents to their homes wherever possible.
Southern California Edison (SCE)
Approximately 1,350 Southern California Edison (SCE) customers in the Montecito area remain without power today. As conditions permit, SCE will continue to work around the clock to restore power to affected customers in the community. For those areas where access to SCE crews has already been granted, SCE expects to have service restored to houses not significantly damaged or destroyed by January 31. Restoration may be delayed due to new storms in the area, ongoing recovery operations and unknown damage to facilities yet to be inspected.
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)
SoCalGas is committed to restoring natural gas service as quickly as possible. The work to safely restore natural gas service to customers will take time and involve several steps. As part of this process, SoCalGas crews continue to conduct safety, assessment, repair, and restoration work in several impacted areas each day.
Given the magnitude and impact of the storm damage, an estimate for restoring gas service to affected customers has not been determined.
In areas that have been deemed safe, and where assessments and necessary repairs are completed, SoCalGas crews are performing gas service restoration work. Customers can track the progress of SoCalGas’ restoration efforts at www.socalgas.com/montecito.
Natural gas customers must be home for SoCalGas to safely restore service. SoCalGas will contact customers by phone, email and SMS when their area is ready to be restored. SoCalGas asks customers to make sure their contact information is up to date by logging into SoCalGas’ My Account at socalgas.com/myaccount. Customers can also contact SoCalGas 24-hours a day at 1-800-427-2200 to update their contact information.
SoCalGas customer service representatives are also available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Local Recovery and Assistance Center at Calvary Chapel, 1 N Calle Cesar Chavez in Santa Barbara.
For safety reasons, customers should never attempt to restore gas service themselves.
Montecito Water District
Montecito Water District has lifted the boil water notice for the Summerland portion of their service territory. The District is maintaining an active map of areas under the boil water notice on their website at montecitowater.com and will continue to alert the public as conditions change. The District is having success in making both permanent and temporary repairs to their heavily damaged system. They anticipate restoring water services to areas outside the flood and debris flow impact zones by January 31st.
Montecito Sanitary District
The Montecito Sanitary District wastewater treatment plant was unharmed in the mudslide event. Due to the evacuations in the service area, wastewater flowing to the treatment plant is currently minimal, but proper treatment has been and continues to take place. All four of the District’s wastewater lift stations are intact and functioning. When SCE power went down during the flood event, all District facilities auto-transferred to back-up diesel generator power and continued to function properly.
To date, District crews in conjunction with their mutual aid partners – the City of Santa Barbara Public Works Department, Goleta Sanitary District and Carpinteria Sanitary District – have visually inspected 1300 of its 2000 manholes. 1100 manholes are reported to be in good condition. Many manholes were identified as having mud and debris. The District is removing that material with vacuum trucks and delivering it to the wastewater treatment plant.
As mud and debris is removed from roadways and areas that are currently inaccessible, the inspections and mud removal work will continue. There are many locations within the District where wastewater service is currently available and reliable. Other areas still need to be inspected and cleaned. The District will continue to work diligently to restore reliable wastewater service to the entire community by the time potable water service is available.
Santa Barbara County Roads
All County maintained roads have been made passable for emergency operations and utility work. Approximately 20% of County roads in Montecito that were impacted by flood and debris flows need additional work. The roads will not be open to the public until they can safely be used; it is estimated that roads will be passable by passenger-type vehicles by January 31st.
Many private driveways, roads and bridges appear damaged and impassable.
The clean-up and repair along US 101 through Montecito continues 24/7 with crews making steady progress. Nearly all of the mud has been cleared, and Caltrans is moving into inspection and repair of all Highway features. The road is now clear enough so that construction trucks and emergency vehicles can pass through, but it will be several days before it is open to public traffic.
A Caltrans Structure Assessment Team continues to assess the condition of local bridges, roads, and other infrastructure. A preliminary investigation of bridges along State Route 192 indicates that some may be permanently closed, pending replacement. Sections of State Route 192 have been difficult to access due to large boulders and other barriers. Assessment of those structures will continue through this weekend.