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Hundreds of U.S. Cities Testing Sewage for Early Signs of Coronavirus Hotspots

Local officials in Oregon, California, New York, Utah, Florida and many other places are collecting sewage samples to test for coronavirus, which experts say could allow for detection of hotspots for the disease before the diagnosis of clinical cases.

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

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.

The Sweetwater Authority will use innovative technology to flush all 400 miles of its system pipelines. Pnoto: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

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.

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. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

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. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

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

Additional member 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 technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Additional member 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 technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

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.

Vallecitos Water District Employs Technology to Decrease TSS, pH and Algal Blooms

Vallecitos Water District provides 5.25 million gallons of recycled water for irrigation every day. To fulfill the demands of modern irrigation systems, it is important to maintain low TSS levels. This is a challenge during the warm months in California, as algae that occur with raising temperatures, increase the level of TSS and clog the filters that are meant to remove TSS before the distribution of water to the irrigation systems.

Vallecitos Water District is known for its’ sustainable and innovative focus when it comes to water and wastewater treatment.

Could the Answer to Groundwater Resources Come From High in the Sky?

Groundwater makes up 30 to 50 percent of California’s water supply, but until recently there were few restrictions placed on its retrieval. Then in 2014 California became the last Western state to require regulation of its groundwater. With deadlines starting this year, for the first time water managers in the nation’s premier agricultural region – the state’s Central Valley – are tasked with estimating available groundwater. It’s a daunting technological challenge.

Self-Assembling Traps Capture PFAS

University at Buffalo chemists have shown that self-assembling molecular traps can be used to capture PFAS — dangerous pollutants that have contaminated drinking water supplies around the world.

The traps are made from iron-based and organic building blocks that connect, like Legos, to form a tetrahedral cage. Experiments showed that these structures bind to certain PFAS (short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), and a lab analysis revealed how this happens. As it turns out, the PFAS stick strongly to the outside of the cages instead of getting caught inside, researchers say.

Insight: Computers in Our Sewers—Digitization of the Water Sector

Technology is revolutionizing wastewater systems, which require a lot of maintenance but are difficult to access under the surface. Ari Goldfarb and Itai Boneh of Kando, a wastewater solutions company, examine how technology is improving wastewater systems and how Covid-19 is having an impact.

San Diego Plans to Use Drones, Monitors to Reduce Water Main Breaks, Sewer Spills

San Diego sharply reduced the number of water main breaks and sewer spills across the city last year, saving ratepayers money and helping many neighborhoods avoid significant disruptions.

City officials credited the decreases to ramped-up maintenance and replacement efforts on water mains, sewer lines and pipes, particularly those made of cast iron.

And to further reduce breaks and spills, San Diego officials say they will soon begin using drones and other monitoring devices to look for early warning signs of potential problems.

Crews install a carbon fiber liner in Pipeline 4 in October 2019 to give the pipeline several more years of service while a longer-term solution is developed and deployed.

Pipeline 4 Repairs Completed In North San Diego County

Pipeline 4 – one of the San Diego region’s major water pipelines – is back in regular service after a leak was repaired, a testament to the San Diego County Water Authority’s proactive asset management program.

The pipeline resumed normal operations November 10 after nearly two months of modified operation. The leaky section was near Camino Del Rey in Bonsall, in an area with no adjacent homes or businesses.

“The shutdown and repair work went smoothly, and we could not have done it without the support and coordination from Water Authority staff, our contractors and member agencies, particularly, Fallbrook PUD, Rainbow MWD, Valley Center MWD, and Vallecitos Water District,” said Neena Kuzmich, Water Authority engineering manager.

Carbon fiber section will protect Pipeline 4

Water Authority crews detected a leak in the 90-inch diameter Pipeline 4 in the Moosa Canyon area in August.

Crews installed bulkheads in the pipeline to isolate the leak area for repairs. The bulkheads allowed the pipeline to continue treated water deliveries throughout the county in a modified fashion and restored full service to retail water agencies.

The Water Authority installed a carbon fiber liner to give the pipeline several more years of service, while a longer-term solution is developed and implemented.

Once the repairs were completed, a second shutdown was needed to remove the bulkheads and return the pipeline to full, normal operations.

Pipeline 4 is one of five major pipelines operated by the Water Authority.

Crews installed a carbon fiber liner to repair a leak in Pipeline 4 in north San Diego County.

Crews installed a carbon fiber liner to repair a leak in Pipeline 4. The liner will give the pipeline several more years of service while a longer-term solution is developed. Photo: Water Authority

Proactive approach keeps pipelines healthy

By relining the pipes and conducting timely repairs with the latest technology, the Water Authority has avoided major pipeline failures for more than decade.

Extending the life and reliability of major pipelines is one facet of the agency’s proactive asset management program. Real-time monitoring and other pipeline assessment tools help the Water Authority avoid pipeline failures by identifying potential problems in advance.

As part of its proactive approach, the Water Authority continually assesses and rehabilitates pipelines serving the San Diego region. The agency operates 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines, along with 1,600 aqueduct-related structures, and approximately 100 metering/flow-control facilities.

Approximately 82 miles of the pipelines are pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes. These types of pipes were installed between the early 1960s and late 1980s and have experienced premature failures and shown areas of degradation.

In the past few years, the Water Authority has continued to extend the service life of pipelines with relining projects, including Pipeline 3 between Lake Murray and Sweetwater Reservoir, and Pipeline 5, in the Fallbrook area.

Water Authority staff inspect leak in Pipeline 4

Pipeline 4 Repairs Underway in North San Diego County

A recently discovered leak in a section of a pipeline in North County will be repaired in coming months while Pipeline 4 returns to service.

Crews have installed bulkheads in the pipeline to isolate a portion of Pipeline 4 for repairs. This will allow the pipeline to continue treated water deliveries throughout the county in a modified fashion starting the week of Sept. 16 and restores full service to retail water agencies. With the leaky section isolated, crews will make necessary repairs.

Four Water Authority member agencies – Fallbrook PUD, Rainbow MWD, Valley Center MWD, and Vallecitos Water District – have taken steps to manage water supplies while the pipeline was shut down to install the bulkheads.

Carbon fiber section will protect pipe

In August, Water Authority crews detected a leak in the 90-inch diameter Pipeline 4, one of five major pipelines the agency operates. The leaky section is near Camino Del Rey in Bonsall, in an area with no adjacent homes or business.

To find the cause of the leak, the Water Authority dewatered the pipe starting Sept. 9. Preliminary results of the investigation are that a weld seam, connecting a steel pipe section to a pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe, separated in an area of very high water pressure.

The Water Authority is preparing to install a carbon fiber liner to give the pipeline several more years of service while a longer-term solution is developed and deployed.

After repairs are completed, a second 10-day shutdown of Pipeline 4 will be needed to remove the bulkheads and return the pipeline to full, normal operations.

Proactive approach keeps pipelines healthy

As part of its proactive approach to asset management, the Water Authority continually assesses and rehabilitates pipelines serving the San Diego region. The agency operates 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines, along with 1,600 aqueduct-related structures, and approximately 100 metering/flow-control facilities.

Approximately 82 miles of the pipelines are pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes. These types of pipes were installed between the early 1960s and late 1980s, and have experienced premature failures and shown areas of degradation.

By relining the pipes or conducting timely repairs with the latest technology, the Water Authority has avoided major pipeline failures for more than decade.