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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.

Night construction is underway for the Pure Water Oceanside project including well drilling. Photo: City of Oceeanside

Pure Water Oceanside Installing New Pipelines and Drilling Wells

Pure Water Oceanside is installing new pipelines and drilling wells as the recycled water project continues on track for completion in 2022. The advanced water purification project, and expansion of the City of Oceanside’s existing recycled water system, will deliver a new, local source of high-quality drinking water supplying more than 30% of the city’s water supply when completed.

Residents are kept up to date on the progress of construction for the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

An interactive construction map is one of several sources for information about the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

Residents are kept up to date on construction impacts to streets and other infrastructure through several outreach efforts including an interactive construction map, detailed online schedule, regular newsletters, and virtual open house presentations live on the City of Oceanside’s YouTube channel, offering residents the opportunity to ask questions.

“We understand living and commuting near a construction site is not easy,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Everyone involved with the project is thankful to those residents and business owners who live and work in the construction zone for their patience and cooperation. It is crucial to the successful on-time completion of this vital infrastructure project.”

Pipeline construction

Pure Water Oceanside pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection is moving towards Pala Road. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. Lane closures on Douglas Drive allow access to the businesses through the entrance on North River Road.

In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures.

Well construction, which includes injection and monitoring wells, requires closing a section of Coco Palms Drive (south of Cherrystone Street), which will reduce construction time and impacts to nearby residents. Well drilling will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week for approximately three weeks until early 2021. During this time, 16-foot sound walls have been installed around the drilling site to direct sound waves up into the atmosphere and away from residents. Night construction lighting will also be mitigated by the sound walls.

After drilling is complete, additional work will be conducted for testing and to install well infrastructure. The post-drilling work will take place weekdays during business hours and occasional Saturdays.

River Bike Trail remains open

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access to the popular River Bike Trail path is still accessible on the west side of Douglas Drive. Riders are asked to cross safely at the marked crosswalk at Pala Road and Douglas Drive to access the trail and avoid construction equipment.

Construction on schedule 

Well drilling will allow repurified water to be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Repurified water will be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Construction for the entire project is expected to be complete in 2022. While most construction will take place during regular weekday business hours, some critical pipeline construction elements will require temporary extended work hours and occasional Saturdays to complete the project on time.

Residents can sign up for email updates about the project. In the event of any immediate concerns, residents can call 760-435-4570 and representatives will troubleshoot issues.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District's #WhatIsThatThing social media campaign informs ratepayers about water infrastructure in the community. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Olivenhain Social Media Solves Water Infrastructure Mysteries

If you’ve ever driven past pipes sticking out of the ground and wondered, “What is that thing?” you aren’t alone. While sitting at a red light one day, Olivenhain Municipal Water District Customer Services Manager John Carnegie glanced at a pipe and realized there were probably members of the public who are unaware of the role key water infrastructure objects in their neighborhoods play in delivering safe, reliable water.

“OMWD’s #WhatIsThatThing social media campaign is a great way to inform our customers who may be unaware of all the water and wastewater infrastructure around them,” said OMWD Board Secretary Bob Kephart. “It’s a fun way to create a better understanding of the district’s work.”

Water infrastructure mysteries

“It’s easy to forget the long path it takes to get safe and reliable water to your tap,” said OMWD Board President Ed Sprague. “Most people think only as far as their water meter, not to the infrastructure all around them.”

Posts feature a photo and description provided by Olivenhain field service technicians who are out in the district working on service assignments. District spokesman Arman Tarzi says they pass contributions along when they see something the public might want to know more about.

“Our field services staff are happy to contribute ideas and are strong partners in this project,” said Tarzi.

#WhatIsThatThing provides community education

Tarzi said the images help members of the community understand how infrastructure in their area functions.

“For example, you might see a pipe with water coming out of it, and think its leaking,” he said. “But it may be a vault relief doing its job properly, so the social media campaign can help relieve concerns while providing information in a fun way.”

Tarzi said as the public increasingly engages in outdoor activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public may be curious of all the infrastructure around them, which is maintained by OMWD’s essential employees.

“The #WhatIsThatThing creates an appreciation for everything OMWD does to build and maintain our water infrastructure,” said Kephart. “With these posts, we are showing that water infrastructure is everywhere and OMWD is always proactive in maintaining our system.”

#WhatIsThatThing? Inside this tan enclosure is a 2-inch Air Relief Valve that is installed on the distribution water main. The purpose of this valve is to release air pockets that collect at each high point of a fully pressured pipeline. Water infrastructure is all around you!

Posts in the #WhatIsThatThing social media series began appearing on Olivenhain’s Facebook and Twitter accounts in June. The next posts are scheduled this week.

The City of Poway is performing maintenance at Lake Poway, drawing the lake level down temporarily. Photo: City of Poway

Lake Poway Water Level Temporarily Reduced for Maintenance

Lake Poway’s water level is lower today, but it isn’t due to the current heatwave. The lake is being temporarily reduced to complete a planned maintenance project to replace a transducer.

Lake Poway serves as the City of Poway’s main water storage reservoir, with a capacity to hold more than one billion gallons of water. A transducer measures the lake’s water level and remotely sends data to the city.

The city typically takes advantage of lower summer lake levels every year as part of a process to maintain the water quality and for maintenance.  Water drawn down from Lake Poway is sent to the Lester J. Berglund Water Treatment Plant for treatment. Replacement water is added back in from supplies the city purchases from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Drinking water is not being discarded. Instead, the City of Poway is moving drinking water into the delivery system for treatment, and holding back on replenishing the lake until the maintenance project is complete.

The work creates a bonus for San Diego County’s avid fishing fans.

“It’s not unusual for the water level to be down in the lake this time of year,” said Allie Margie, Recreation Supervisor at Lake Poway. “Our night fishing and catfish restocking schedule aren’t affected – and with less water and more fish in the lake, your chances of making a catch might be better than ever.”

Three billion gallons of drinking water safely treated annually

Lake Poway treats three billion gallons of drinking water annually. Photo: City of Poway

Lake Poway treats three billion gallons of drinking water annually. Photo: City of Poway

Poway operates a modern water treatment and distribution system. Lake Poway serves as a storage reservoir for imported water from both the Colorado River and Northern California.

Water flows through the Berglund Water Treatment Plant, where approximately three billion gallons of drinking water are treated every year for the citizens of Poway. Once treated, the drinking water enters a system of pipes, pump stations, reservoirs for delivery to customer’s homes and businesses.

Did you know?

  • The City of Poway maintains about 294 miles of water pipe.
  • There are approximately 2,345 fire hydrants throughout the city.
  • There are over 5,044 valves in the water system.
  • Employees working in the water system are required to be certified by the State of California to work in a water system.