Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board approved $2.4M in pipeline projects in Bonita and National City to ensure continued reliable water service for customers. The Board voted to approve these projects at its April 27 Governing Board meeting. SRK Engineering was awarded the contract for construction that will begin in June 2022.
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
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.)
The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.
Water main flushing cleans pipeline interiors by sending a rapid flow of water through them. Sweetwater’s program is the first in the region to use a new, innovative technology resulting in less environmental impact.
“We’re committed to providing our customers with high-quality water, ensuring that every drop meets safety standards and protects public health,” said Tish Berge, Sweetwater Authority general manager. “We’re also dedicated to providing the safe, reliable water through the use of best available technology and sustainable practices.”
See the system in action in the following video. A Spanish language version is also available.
New method avoids storm drain discharge
Traditional flushing methods release water from fire hydrants at a high speed in order to flush out naturally occurring sediments accumulating in water pipes over time. Although the sediment itself is harmless, it can eventually affect water color and taste. The water used to clean the pipes often cannot be captured and ends up in the storm drain system.
The bulk of Sweetwater Authority‘s flushing program now eliminates the need to discharge water from fire hydrants during the cleaning process while delivering the same results.
Crews identify all pipes, valves, and fire hydrants located in the area to be flushed. Next, crews connect one end of a hose to a hydrant and the other end of the hose to the no discharge, or NO-DES flushing unit. The process repeats, connecting a second hose to another hydrant and the other end back into the flushing unit, creating a temporary closed loop.
Once the NO-DES flushing unit is turned on and the hydrants are open, water will push through the loop at high pressure, disrupting any accumulated sediment on the inside of the pipes. The water is pushed through a series of sock-like filters, which remove those sediments and return clean, high-quality water back into the system.
Crews closely monitor the filtration system and water quality to determine when flushing of each pipeline segment is complete.
Innovative technology, efficient and environmentally responsible
With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations.
In the National City area 75.8 miles of pipeline was recently flushed. Crews are now completing work in the Bonita area, and then will start work in Chula Vista.
Additional water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the innovative technology.
“Securing a local water supply to ensure the water delivered is of the highest quality through the best technology in our projects and programs helps to maximize value for our customers while also being sustainable,” said Berge.
For more information on the program, go to www.sweetwater.org/flushing.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District pipeline along Winter Haven Road will be replaced.
FPUD’s 4-0 board vote Dec. 9, with Don McDougal absent, approved the contract with Kirtley Construction for the San Bernardino company’s bid of $750,400.