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.)

Tribal Leaders Ask for More Funding, Less Meddling for Water Projects

Arizona tribal officials told a Senate committee Wednesday that the federal government can help address a crisis with water infrastructure on their lands through more funding, and less meddling.

Navajo Department of Water Resources Director Jason John and Colorado River Indian Tribes Chairwoman Amelia Flores made the comments during a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on water infrastructure for Native communities. Leaders of Oregon and Alaska tribes also testified at the hearing.

CWA Ratifies Contracts, Accepts Notice of Completion for Pipeline 5 Repairs

Eventually the San Diego County Water Authority will develop and implement a long-term fix for the vulnerability of the three SDCWA pipelines in Moosa Canyon, but the short-term fix for Pipeline 5 is now complete.

A unanimous CWA board vote, Thursday, May 28, ratified four contracts approved administratively by CWA General Manager Sandra Kerl and authorized Kerl to accept the work as complete.

“Earlier this month, in May, we shut down Pipeline 5 to remove the bulkheads and we resumed normal operations on May 8,” Neena Kuzmich, engineering manager of CWA, said.

Essential Repairs Completed on Pipeline 5 in North County

The San Diego County Water Authority and its contractors have completed essential repairs on a section of Pipeline 5 in North San Diego County between Fallbrook and Escondido. The repairs included installing 156 feet of carbon fiber liner inside the 96-inch pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe to extend its service life. The pipeline was returned to normal service over the weekend – ahead of the original schedule.

Cutting-edge technology improves pipeline structure

The lining for Pipeline 5 is a material made from layers of carbon and glass fibers combined with polymers that are engineered to efficiently and effectively improve the structural integrity of large-diameter pipelines.

“The timely upgrade to this section of Pipeline 5 is part of the Water Authority’s proactive asset management program,” said Jim Fisher, director of operations and maintenance at the Water Authority. “A key element of providing a safe and reliable water supplies is continually assessing our 310 miles of large-diameter pipeline and making the upgrades necessary to continue serving the region.”

The essential repairs followed similar repairs on nearby Pipeline 4 last year. The Pipeline 5 project started in early April, about the time most Water Authority employees transitioned to working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The crews adapted quickly to implement safeguards to protect their health while moving forward with the critical repairs,” said Peter Milligan, engineer at the Water Authority. “We made sure to limit the number of people on-site, wear masks, and maintain a safe physical distance inside where possible.”

Proactive asset management program maintains critical water infrastructure

The asset management program uses cutting-edge technologies, like carbon fiber lining, to monitor and maintain the condition of important regional water infrastructure. Making preventative repairs ensures that regional water service will continue uninterrupted.

Pipeline 5 was built in 1982 and is part of the Water Authority’s Second Aqueduct, which consists of Pipelines 3, 4 and 5. Along with Pipeline 3, Pipeline 5 delivers untreated water from Lake Skinner in southwest Riverside County to the Lower Otay Water Treatment Plant in southern San Diego County.

An analysis to determine a long-term solution to maintain the Second Aqueduct in North San Diego County is underway.