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Vallecitos Water District Taps Tech for Pipeline Inspection

The Vallecitos Water District is using a specialized camera and sonar to evaluate the condition of a sewer pipeline between San Marcos and Carlsbad.

The Land Outfall West pipeline is a large sewer line that stretches from El Camino Real to the Encina Water Pollution Control Facility in Carlsbad. Originally installed in 1986, an evaluation of the pipeline’s current condition using closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and sonar will help the District identify and prioritize its ongoing pipeline renewal and maintenance activities.

Working with Hoch Consulting, the Vallecitos Water District inspection project will take place through June. Photo: Vallecitos Water Distict

Vallecitos Water District Taps Tech for Pipeline Inspection

The Vallecitos Water District is using a specialized camera and sonar to evaluate the condition of a sewer pipeline between San Marcos and Carlsbad.

The Land Outfall West pipeline is a large sewer line that stretches from El Camino Real to the Encina Water Pollution Control Facility in Carlsbad. Originally installed in 1986, an evaluation of the pipeline’s current condition using closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and sonar will help the District identify and prioritize its ongoing pipeline renewal and maintenance activities.

Inspections help ensure system reliability

Field teams begin the inspection process, which is taking place at night to minimize disruption. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Field teams begin the inspection process, which is taking place at night to minimize disruption. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The pipeline ranges in size from 24-inches to 54-inches in diameter and is approximately 3.2 miles long. Project Manager Susan Bowman said today’s technology allows the District to perform thorough inspections without digging up streets and disrupting neighborhoods.

“We want to make sure the pipeline is still in good shape,” explained Bowman, who is the District’s asset management supervisor. “We’re going to be taking a look at the inside of the pipe using an advanced CCTV tool. It looks at all of the insides of the pipeline and identifies any flaws or maintenance issues that may need to be addressed.”

Bowman said the District regularly inspects manholes and performs routine inspection activities. Using cameras and sonar will provide more detailed information to help the District plan ongoing maintenance and repair to ensure the pipeline will continue to perform well.

District staff, consulting staff, pipeline inspectors, and environmental inspectors will be onsite during the work. Work started at the east end of the pipeline in Carlsbad, and will follow along Palomar Airport Road under Interstate 5, and end at the Encina Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Cost-effective and less disruptive

Map showing the 3.2 mile stretch of Vallectios Water District pipeline undergoing inspection in June. Photo: Vallecitos Water Diatrict

Map showing the 3.2 mile stretch of Vallecitos Water District pipeline undergoing inspection in June. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

To minimize traffic impacts and to take advantage of lower flow levels, all work is scheduled at night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and will occur on weekdays through June 18. Bowman said most of the work should have limited impact on businesses and residents in the area, with minor compressor noise and limited street blocking along Palomar Airport Road.

Pipeline inspections tap tech

“We want to be good neighbors,” said Bowman. “But it is critical to ensure a pipeline is performing well, it is safe, and it is able to continue to do its job. It’s a cost-effective way to ensure the District’s assets are performing well. The technologies have really improved in the last 15 to 20 years.”

Previously, the only way to inspect a pipeline was to take it out of service and dig it up.

“If you’re going to dig something up to see what shape it’s in, you might as well be replacing it,” said Bowman. “We are definitely looking at a lot of these different noninvasive type of technologies. It helps the system perform better by reducing unplanned emergencies which are disruptive to all of us.”

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

An employee looks into a section of pipeline. One of the projects receiving an award.

Water Authority Wins Four Awards for Outstanding Projects

The American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers recently presented the San Diego County Water Authority with four awards for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication and collaboration from staff in many departments. All of the projects were underway or completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and project teams navigated shutdowns, adapted to health and safety restrictions, and overcame many other uncertainties – in addition to typical challenges encountered during construction projects.

1) APWA Project of the Year: Northern First Aqueduct Structures and Lining Rehabilitation

With extensive coordination between the Water Authority’s Asset Management, Operations, Maintenance, Right of Way, Water Resources, Engineering and Public Affairs teams, the First Aqueduct rehabilitation project was completed in early 2021. Significant work had not been performed on the First Aqueduct since the completion of Pipeline 1 in 1947 and Pipeline 2 in 1954. The Operations and Maintenance Teams worked closely with multiple member agencies to ensure no impacts to water deliveries over the extended shutdowns required to reline both Pipelines. These extended shutdowns allowed the Asset Management team to inspect 27 miles of pipeline along the aqueduct using innovative technologies – the first time this had been done in nearly 75 years.

“Since the project included more than 35 work sites spread out over 15 miles, many in rural areas of the county, we collaborated closely between different departments and member agencies to ensure that water service was not disrupted,” said Emma Ward-McNally, Water Authority engineer.

2) APWA Honor Award: Vallecitos 11/Vista Irrigation 12 Flow Control Facility

This new facility replaced the existing Vallecitos 2/Vista Irrigation 1 facility that was built in 1954. The Water Authority’s Operations and Maintenance team worked closely with the Engineering team to develop a construction sequence to build the new facility while maintaining water service to member agencies.

“A meticulous level of detail in the design process allowed for the project to be completed with minimal changes during construction,” said Jim Zhou, Water Authority senior engineer.

3) APWA Honor Award: San Diego 28 Flow Control Facility

The new flow control facility replaced the San Diego 12 flow control facility. The Water Authority’s Right of Way team worked closely with the City of San Diego to acquire property rights for the facility. During construction, electrical and rotating technicians from Operations and Maintenance provided support to ensure that the facility was constructed correctly and that electrical relay protection was coordinated when connecting to San Diego Gas & Electric.

“The new facility repurposed an existing building at the site, but it was forward-looking – the project included the installation of a second pipe train for a future inline hydroelectric turbine,” said Aaron Trimm, Water Authority senior engineer.

4) ASCE Award of Excellence: Pipeline 5 Emergency Repair

After nearby Pipeline 4 was repaired in late 2019, the Asset Management team inspected Pipeline 5 in early 2020, and found it needed repairs as well. Multiple Water Authority departments and teams collaborated to launch the emergency repairs on Pipeline 5, despite the uncertainty of the growing pandemic. The Engineering Contracts group executed five contracts and task authorizations for design, construction and inspection within a few weeks to make the project happen, and the work was completed in April 2020.

“The project was a true team effort that required collaboration from multiple departments to ensure that the emergency repair could be completed even as the region was shutting down due to the pandemic,” said Colin Kemper, Water Authority senior engineer.

Crews work on First Aqueduct Rehabilitation.

Major Rehabilitation of First Aqueduct Complete

The San Diego County Water Authority recently completed a major rehabilitation project on the historic First Aqueduct in North San Diego County. The project renovated and replaced dozens of structures on two large-diameter pipelines, including the historic Pipeline 1. Pipeline 1 delivered the first imported water to the San Diego region in 1947 and remains a vital part of the regional water delivery system. The construction contract for the project was worth approximately $30 million.

Coordination with member agencies key to success

Over the past two years, four coordinated shutdowns in collaboration with member agencies and communities in North San Diego County ensured minimum impact to nearby neighborhoods and water users.

“The First Aqueduct delivered imported water to our region for the first time more than 70 years ago, and it remains critical to water supply reliability for our region to this day,” said Gary Croucher, chair of the Water Authority Board of Directors. “Through coordination throughout the Water Authority and collaboration with our member agencies, we completed this extraordinarily complex project to ensure these pipelines operate for generations to come.”

The project was completed on January 12 and will be presented to the Water Authority’s Board of Directors at their March meeting.

Proactive asset management program maintains reliable water supplies

The timely rehabilitation of the First Aqueduct is part of the Water Authority’s proactive asset management program. A key element of providing safe and reliable water supplies is continually assessing the agency’s 310 miles of large-diameter pipeline and making the upgrades necessary to continue serving the region. That work is funded through water bills paid by residents and businesses across the county to sustain the region’s $245 billion economy and quality of life.

The First Aqueduct project began in early 2019 and was one of the most complicated pipeline retrofits in the Water Authority’s history. The upgrades included replacing 14,500 linear feet of lining on the steel pipe sections of Pipeline 1, removing 16 associated structures and retrofitting 46 structures. All this work was accomplished while ensuring regional water service remained safe and reliable. In addition, redundant connections to six flow control facilities were added between the two pipelines to improve the aqueduct’s operational flexibility.

Collaboration between departments increased efficiency

The Water Authority’s Engineering Department provided construction management and inspection for the retrofit. Before the pipeline was returned to service, secondary tie-in connections to flow control facilities were added and crews removed bulkheads that were used to isolate pipeline sections during the rehabilitation work. Once the work was completed, staff inspected all work areas in the pipeline to ensure they were clear of construction debris.

After the bulkheads were removed, the Operations and Maintenance team disinfected the highly impacted work areas and then refilled the aqueduct to prepare for a second disinfection of both pipelines with chlorine. Water samples at locations throughout the aqueduct were collected and analyzed to ensure the system was safe to return to service. Once all the samples passed analysis, all flow control facilities were placed back in service and the aqueduct was returned to normal operations.

Major Relining Project Honored by the American Public Works Association

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Public Works Association recently recognized a San Diego County Water Authority pipeline relining project for its excellence as a public works project. The award commends the successful partnership between Water Authority staff, the contractor and local agencies working together to complete this critical repair to maintain the reliability of the regional water supply.

The local chapter of the American Public Works Association honored the Pipeline 5 relining project for the successful collaboration between the Water Authority, contractor, local agencies and nearby communities. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Major Relining Project Honored by the American Public Works Association

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Public Works Association recently recognized a San Diego County Water Authority pipeline relining project for its excellence as a public works project. The award commends the successful partnership between Water Authority staff, the contractor and local agencies working together to complete this critical repair to maintain the reliability of the regional water supply.

Relining project covers 12,300 feet

Pipeline 5 was relined from the point of delivery with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to Sage Road in the Fallbrook and Rainbow communities in north San Diego County. The $24.7 million project was completed in July 2019 and relined approximately 12,300 feet of Pipeline 5, a 96-inch large-diameter regional pipeline.

30-year pipeline relining program rehabilitates aging pipes

Relining is a cost-effective method to repair pipelines and extend their service life with less impacts to the community and environment than if a traditional pipe replacement is performed. The relining process avoids digging up miles of pipeline, which would take significantly more time and resources, as well as impact associated streets and driveways for a long period of time.

“The Water Authority’s asset management program used an acoustic fiber monitoring system to help perform evaluations of the pipeline and prioritize this portion for rehabilitation,” said Jerry Reed, director of engineering at the Water Authority. “Our staff collaborated with stakeholders in Fallbrook, San Marcos and Rainbow, including staff at our member agencies and nearby residents to ensure project success.”

The project work areas were surrounded by residential homes and farms, heavily traveled public streets and a local retirement community.

Close coordination with multiple agencies ensured there were no impacts to water deliveries. Open communications with local residents regarding project schedule ensured no incidents occurred with local traffic.

Proactive asset management program rehabilitates crucial water infrastructure

The relining project was part of the Water Authority’s proactive and innovative asset management program to rehabilitate and reline pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe within the Water Authority’s conveyance system to ensure continued supply reliability.

The local APWA chapter chose the project based on criteria that included superb planning, efficient design and construction management techniques to complete the project on schedule, within a cost-effective budget and adherence to regulatory requirements. It was also judged on the degree it enhanced a public service or facility, the quality of community relations or actions to minimize public impacts, safety precautions taken to protect lives and property, environmental impact mitigation measures and other accomplishments under adverse conditions.

Pipelines Assessed in Record Time with Latest Technology

The San Diego County Water Authority’s asset management team recently celebrated the completion of a comprehensive condition assessment of more than 27 miles of the agency’s oldest pipelines. The assessment was performed in record time over 16 months.

 

 

Report: Funding Water Infrastructure Benefits Economy

The United States is underinvesting in its drinking water and wastewater systems — putting American households and the economy at risk, according to a new report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers and Value of Water Campaign.  The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure: How a Failure to Act Would Affect the U.S. Economy Recovery,” finds that as water infrastructure deteriorates and service disruptions increase, annual costs to American households due to water and wastewater failures will be seven times higher in 20 years than they are today — from $2 billion in 2019 to $14 billion by 2039.

November, March Shutdowns Set in CWA’s 2020-2021 Aqueduct Operating Plan

The San Diego County Water Authority has an annual Aqueduct Operating Plan, and the SDCWA’s 2020-2021 plan was presented at the Thursday, July 23, CWA board meeting as a non-voting item. The 2020-2021 plan includes shutdowns due to planned maintenance, and Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District turnouts will be impacted by a November shutdown to Pipelines 1 and 2 and a March 2021 shutdown to Pipeline 5.

AECOM Given CWA Design Contract for San Luis Rey Habitat Restoration, Dulin Hill Erosion Control

AECOM Technical Services Inc. was given the San Diego County Water Authority design and engineering support contract for the San Luis Rey Habitat Management Area Restoration and the Dulin Hill Erosion Repair projects.

A July 23 SDCWA board vote approved a professional services contract with AECOM for $465,069. The CWA issued a request for proposals for a single contract for the two adjacent sites; the Dulin Hill Erosion Repair consultant work will be for technical support while the San Luis Rey Habitat Management Area Restoration activities will include design, bidding and construction support services.