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OMWD Recognized for Construction Projects to Ensure Water Reliability

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Indian Head Canyon Pipeline Restoration Project and El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement Project were both recognized today as 2022 Projects of the Year by American Public Works Association’s San Diego and Imperial County Chapter at its awards event in Mission Valley.

“OMWD takes great pride in providing uninterrupted water service to our customers,” said OMWD Board President Larry Watt. “Replacing and repairing infrastructure before it fails helps to avoid emergency repairs, which is a more cost-effective and less impactful approach.”

Lake Hodges-Hodges Reservoir-Hodges Dam

Repair Work on Hodges Dam to Begin

As part of continuing efforts to maintain and invest in City of San Diego infrastructure, repair work starts within the next two weeks on Hodges Dam, at the Hodges Reservoir north of Rancho Bernardo.

“It’s been over a century since Hodges Dam was constructed, and we are making significant investments to maintain this vital asset,” said Alia Khouri, Deputy Chief Operating Officer. “Projects like this one are crucial for the City’s aging infrastructure system in order to maintain the safe and efficient delivery of City services.”

During a recent inspection, staff identified areas in the dam wall that require repair and need to be sealed. To access these areas, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by approximately 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet. The reservoir may need to be lowered below 275 feet if additional areas needing repair are identified during the project. The repair project is expected to continue for an estimated five months.

Water transfers to maximize savings

The Hodges Dam, shown here in 1929, was built in 1918. Photo: UCSD

The Hodges Dam, shown here in 1929, was built in 1918. Photo: UC San Diego

The primary function of Hodges Reservoir is to store water for potable use. The City is working with its regional water agency partners on a plan to draw down the reservoir level to maximize water savings. Most, if not all, of the water will be transferred to other reservoirs, while some water may be released into the San Dieguito River.

“The City of San Diego is committed to maintaining Hodges Dam to ensure the protection of our water resources and public enjoyment of the reservoir,” said Juan Guerreiro, Interim Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. “We appreciate the public’s patience while we complete the project.”

To access areas of the Hodges Dam for repairs, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by approximately 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet. As a result of the lower water level, the Hodges Reservoir will be closed for recreation while the repair project is underway. Boating and fishing will still be available at other City of San Diego reservoirs. The San Dieguito River Park trails and facilities around Hodges Reservoir will not be impacted during the drawdown or dam construction work.

Operated and maintained by the San Diego Public Utilities Department, the reservoir currently serves the San Diego County Water Authority, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation District, and the City of San Diego. San Diego operates nine reservoirs, including Hodges.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego, San Dieguito Water District, and the Santa Fe Irrigation District are three of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

City of San Diego to Begin Repair Work on Hodges Reservoir Dam

San Diego, Calif. – As part of ongoing efforts to maintain and invest in City of San Diego infrastructure, repair work will begin within the next two weeks on Hodges Dam, located at the Hodges Reservoir north of Rancho Bernardo.

“It’s been over a century since Hodges Dam was constructed and we are making significant investments to maintain this vital asset,” said Alia Khouri, Deputy Chief Operating Officer. “Projects like this one are crucial for the City’s aging infrastructure system in order to maintain the safe and efficient delivery of City services.”

System Maintenance-Leak Prevention-Otay Water District customers may see workers inspecting the meter in front of their home or business, typically between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some weekend and night work may also be required. Photo: Otay Water District preventative system maintenanceOtay Water District customers may see workers inspecting the meter in front of their home or business, typically between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some weekend and night work may also be required. Photo: Otay Water District preventative system maintenance

Otay Water District Invests in Preventive System Maintenance

As part of its preventive maintenance program to safeguard its water supply and reduce water loss, the Otay Water District is conducting leak inspections of its pipeline system. Leak detection and repair programs save water by ensuring water system integrity. The District uses state-of-the-art equipment to inspect its water distribution system for leaks in pipelines, meters, and valves. The equipment is designed to “listen” for leaks and can pinpoint the location of even the smallest water leak. Once identified, crews will schedule the needed repairs.

Otay’s contractor, Utility Services Associates, will inspect approximately 173 miles of potable water mains in Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, and Jamul, along with potable and recycled water mains in areas of Chula Vista. The work is now underway.

Water leaks often account for a substantial portion of lost revenue in water utility systems. If just small single-digit percentages of water carried by the Otay Water District’s pipelines were lost to leaks, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and waste a precious resource.

System maintenance: Leak inspections underway at homes and businesses

The District’s contractor, Utility Services Associates, will inspect approximately 173 miles of potable water mains in Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, and Jamul, along with potable and recycled water mains in areas of Chula Vista. Photo: Otay Water District

The District’s contractor, Utility Services Associates, will inspect approximately 173 miles of potable water mains in Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, and Jamul, along with potable and recycled water mains in areas of Chula Vista. Photo: Otay Water District

Otay Water District customers may see workers inspecting the meter in front of their home or business, typically between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some weekend and night work may also be required. The duration of the inspection can range from a few minutes to one day.

Workers will be wearing a Utility Services Associates logo and carry company identification. They will not need access to customers’ homes or property but may contact customers if they need to momentarily shut off their water supply for further testing. They will not shut off the water supply without permission from someone at the home or property.

Workers may be lifting water meter covers, inspecting, and attaching equipment to meters or valves. If a leak is suspected, the Otay Water District will contact the customer and advise them of the potential leak.

The inspection has an estimated completion date of Friday, April 29, 2022, subject to weather and other circumstances.

Customers with questions on the Leak Detection Program can contact Otay Water District’s customer service representatives at (619) 670-2222.

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

New video-Olivenhain Municipal Water District-OMWD-Water quality continues to exceed state and federal standards. In addition, due to preventative maintenance, overall water loss decreased in 2021 at the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District New Video highlights

New Video Highlights Olivenhain Municipal Water District Achievements in 2021

In its ongoing effort to keep ratepayers and the community informed, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District produced its first “Year In Review” video report for 2021.

The video showcases key achievements of the District, using an accessible digital video format to share details, images, and key facts with ratepayers through a familiar, trusted online platform posted to the District’s YouTube channel.

“Most customers are not aware of the numerous projects and developments ongoing at OMWD, so this video is a great way to package all our wins into one place for easy viewing,” said Joe Jansen, OMWD administrative analyst.

Jansen said many of the District’s fiscal accomplishments aren’t readily visible to the public like infrastructure projects.

“Videos are great informational tools to help keep our residents informed of everything we do and to help build trust with us as their water provider,” said Jansen.

Eight achievements highlighted in the video

  1. OMWD received an AAA bond rating from Fitch Ratings.
  2. OMWD received over $3.6 million in refunds to be credited to customers over the next several years. Funds will be added to the Rate Stabilization Fund and applied as a direct credit to customers’ water bills over the next several years.
  3. OMWD achieved over $1.3 million of state and federal grant funds. Funding will offset the costs of important projects for ratepayers.
  4. OMWD continues to receive the highest recognition from industry groups. Awards recognize the District for its fiscal governance and infrastructure projects.
  5. Water quality continues to exceed state and federal standards. In addition, due to preventative maintenance, overall water loss decreased in 2021.
  6. OMWD completed a pilot study on developing a local water supply through groundwater desalination. Results were favorable from the grant-funded project and the District will continue to assess the project’s feasibility.
  7. OMWD completed several replacement and upgrade projects at its 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility.
  8. Proactive measures were taken to combat the spread of COVID-19. As a result, OMWD had no interruption to customer service and has completed all vital projects during the past year.
In 2021, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District completed several replacement and upgrade projects at its 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District New Video highlights

In 2021, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District completed several replacement and upgrade projects at its 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Award finalist in ACWA 2021 Huell Howser Excellence in Communication Award

(L to R) Board member Neal Meyers, GM Kim Thorner, treasurer Christy Guerin, customer service manager John Carnegie, board member Lawrence Watt, and assistant GM Joey Randall receive ACWA's 2021 Huell Howser Excellence in Communication Award.. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

(L to R) Board member Neal Meyers, GM Kim Thorner, treasurer Christy Guerin, customer service manager John Carnegie, board member Lawrence Watt, and assistant GM Joey Randall receive recognition as finalists for ACWA’s 2021 Huell Howser Excellence in Communication Award. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

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

Water infrastructure-Olivenhain Municipal Water District-Base paving along El Camino Real across from Camino Encinitas Plaza, just north of Via Montoro. Photo: OMWD joint project by Olivenhainv

Joint Project By Olivenhain MWD and City of Encinitas Reaches Final Phase

The El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project has reached its final stage. After the Olivenhain Municipal Water District Board approved filing of a notice of completion for the pipeline portion of the project, the City of Encinitas will finish restoring the street and complete new bike lane striping.

The original pipelines were installed in 1961 and 1974 and fast approaching the end of their lifespan. OMWD replaced approximately 4,700 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter potable water pipeline along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Garden View Road, and approximately 650 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter pipeline between Via Molena and Mountain Vista Drive. Water service lines and fire hydrant laterals served by the existing pipelines were also replaced.

The pipeline replacement will reduce water loss and prevent emergency shutdowns due to leaks. This is vitally important for water conservation and to ensure water supply reliability for businesses and residents, more important than ever due to drought conditions in the region.

“Proactive maintenance is a big part of what we do,” said Olivenhain Municipal Water District Board President Larry Watt. “Replacing aging infrastructure before it breaks helps to avoid emergencies, which are more costly and more impactful to customers.”

Coordination minimizes community inconvenience

Lowering a section of the new potable water pipe into a trench in El Camino Real joint project by OlivenhainLowering a section of the new potable water pipe into a trench in El Camino Real joint project by Olivenhain

Lowering a section of the new potable water pipe into a trench in El Camino Real. Night work helped minimize the inconvenience to nearby businesses and homes. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

To mitigate the impact to the surrounding community, OMWD coordinated with the City of Encinitas on its green bike lane project along the same route. The District implemented the lane restriping portion of the project on behalf of the City of Encinitas concurrently with the pipeline replacement project as an efficiency measure.

As a result, the two agencies combined what would normally be two separate, unrelated infrastructure improvement projects into a single effort to improve operational efficiency and reduce the temporary inconvenience of disruptions to area residents and businesses.

The bike lane will provide traffic calming measures, including improvements to safety and mobility for bicyclists along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Leucadia Boulevard by restriping and narrowing travel lanes. In addition, green-colored striping will augment some areas on the bike lanes and new signage and pavement markings will be installed.

“It was very important to us from the outset of the project to mitigate its impacts to the community, while also keeping costs down,” said Watt. “To that end, the partnership with the City of Encinitas was critical. They coordinated closely with us every step of the way.”

At the start of the project, the City of Encinitas requested that work be done at night to further reduce traffic impacts. Capitalizing on the reduced traffic as a result of the statewide stay-at-home order, OMWD was able to shift construction to the daytime for a portion of the project. Working during the day is more efficient and safer than night work, and minimized noise impacts to the surrounding neighbors. However, as traffic returned to normal levels, the City shifted work hours back to overnight.

New bike lanes due by December

Dedicated green bike lanes such as this example have an expected December completion date. Photo: Courtesy City of Encinitas

Dedicated green bike lanes such as this example have an expected December completion date. Photo: Courtesy City of Encinitas

The final work effort will include buffered bike lanes on the east and west, and fully restoring three lanes of traffic. Work is anticipated to occur through early December. Traffic controls will be in place during the day and at night with the most significant work occurring at night. Residents and businesses should anticipate lane closures and consider alternative transportation routes.

For questions specific to the City of Encinitas’ Active Transportation Enhancing Project, please email or call 760-943-2211.

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

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Manchester Pipeline Projects Begin with Replacement of Potable Water Pipeline

Encinitas, CA — Olivenhain Municipal Water District is beginning construction this week to replace aging water infrastructure near the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Road and Encinitas Boulevard.

OMWD takes a proactive approach in repairing and replacing aging water infrastructure. These proactive measures help prevent disruptive and costly main breaks to ensure continued water service to customers. The pipelines that will be replaced are approaching the end of their lifespan. The pipelines were originally installed in 1961.

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.)

The City of San Diego's aggressive maintenance program has resulted in fewer water main breaks in 2020. Photo: City of San Diego

Water Main Breaks Decline in San Diego for Fourth Year in a Row

Increased maintenance efforts by the City of San Diego of its water system infrastructure is paying off for ratepayers. For the fourth year in a row, the number of water main breaks has decreased in the City of San Diego. Thirty-three water main breaks were reported in 2020, the lowest total in more than 15 years.

The City credits its aggressive multi-year program to replace aging pipelines for bringing the numbers far below the peak of 131 breaks in 2010.

“The City’s Public Utilities Department has worked very hard to improve the reliability of our water system infrastructure,” said Shauna Lorance, director of public utilities. “Our citizens benefit greatly from fewer main breaks because it means less water loss and lower emergency repair costs.”

Fifty-five miles of pipeline replaced in next four years

Crews replace old cast iron pipe with new PVC pipe along Park Boulevard. Photo: City of San Diego

Crews replace old cast iron pipe with new PVC pipe along Park Boulevard. Photo: City of San Diego

San Diego’s continuing program to replace old cast iron water mains has played a major part in the decrease in breaks. Some cast-iron pipes had been in service for more than a century. Since 2013, the city has replaced approximately 180 miles of water pipelines. By 2025, the last 55 miles of cast iron water mains are scheduled to be replaced with water mains made of durable polyvinyl chloride.

Water infrastructure maintenance programs also deliver a benefit to our region’s overall economy. According to the Economic Policy Institute, $188.4 billion spent on water infrastructure investments over five years would yield $265 billion in economic activity and create 1.9 million jobs.

“Improving and maintaining our water infrastructure is an important part of our commitment to serving our customers,” said Lorance. “We will continue to provide reliable water services our customers deserve.”

City of San Diego public utilities crew members replace an aging cast iron water pipe at 5th and Robinson in Hillcrest. Photo: City of San Diego water main breaks

City of San Diego public utilities crew members replace an aging cast iron water pipe at 5th and Robinson in Hillcrest. Photo: City of San Diego

City of San Diego public utilities crews routinely oversee preventative maintenance work to help determine potential leaks and breaks before they occur. Private contractors have completed the bulk of the pipeline replacement projects under the direction of the City’s Engineering and Capital Projects Department.

Regular valve maintenance prevents unanticipated shutdowns of water service to Vallecitos Water District customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Valve Maintenance Program Ensures Reliable Service

Just as owners perform routine maintenance to keep their cars running smoothly, water systems need regular maintenance to provide reliable service. The Vallecitos Water District’s Valve Maintenance Program ensures these vital components in its water distribution remain in good working condition throughout the District. Valves left without proper maintenance for long periods can become a serious problem, especially in an emergency water shutdown.

VWD’s Construction Department manages the program. Two-person teams use maps to familiarize themselves with the location of the 4,959 valves in the system, not including fire hydrants and fire services. Critical valves serve hospitals and businesses. Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly, following American Water Works Association standards.

Small but vital parts monitored

Construction worker Justin Shutt explains valves are isolation and shutoff point for water mains along streets.

“If we have a main break, where a main ruptures, we need to be able to isolate those certain sections without taking too many people out of water” by shutting the valves, said Shutt.

Valve Maintenance Technician John Truppa runs the valve maintenance program. He trains crew members how to use the valve exerciser machine, read maps properly, and respond to customer calls. Customer service is a priority. When a customer reports a water line leak in their home, the valve maintenance crew helps by shutting off the water at the meter.

The Vallecitos Water District’s geographic information system provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Reliable recordkeeping is vital to ensure all valves receive regular maintenance and are replaced before coming to the end of their service life to reduce the percentage of failures and inoperable valves. The District monitors valve life span to replace them prior to failure. Areas prone to water main breaks and valves on mains serving large groups of customers get added attention.

Taking turns

 Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly by two person teams. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly by two-person teams. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Valve maintenance involves performing a prescribed number of turns to “exercise” or test the valve. Turns are calculated in part by the size of the main. Larger transmission water mains require more valve turns, both up and down. Turning speed is also important. If valves are closed too quickly, it creates “water hammer,” or sudden pressure forcing water down the line, potentially triggering water main breaks. You may have heard a water hammer in your house when you shut off a household valve suddenly.

Ounce of prevention

The District's geographic information system (GIS) provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The Vallecitos Water District’s geographic information system provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Regular valve maintenance prevents unanticipated shutdowns of water service to Vallecitos customers.

“We want to take as few people out of water at a time as we possibly can,” said Shutt. “We keep up on the upgrades and make sure the valves are working the way they’re supposed to.”

The proactive approach by the Vallecitos Water District ensures the reliable delivery of quality water to its customers while ensuring all systems are working properly.