North County Pipeline Being Drained as Safety Measure

Short Title
North County Pipeline Being Drained as Safety Measure
Water service won’t be interrupted by repairs on pipeline connection
June 16, 2015

Construction crews are starting the process to repair a faulty connection between two large-diameter water pipes in San Marcos after a leaky pipe coupling was discovered this morning.

The San Diego County Water Authority took immediate steps to facilitate repairs, including draining approximately 15 acre-feet of treated water from Pipeline 4. An acre-foot is about 325,900 gallons, enough to serve two typical families of four for a year. The water will be de-chlorinated before it’s drained to minimize its environmental impact.

Crews had to act quickly to prevent additional leakage or damage. The vast majority of the drained water will flow into Lake San Marcos.

Redundancies in the Water Authority’s regional water conveyance system mean the shutdown of Pipeline 4 will not impact regional water deliveries. Repairs are expected to take about a week.

“We do everything we can to minimize the discharge of water during construction, especially during drought conditions,” said Frank Belock, deputy general manager for the Water Authority. “But safety comes first, and this coupling required immediate action to avoid even the slimmest potential for a line break that would have caused much greater problems and a far greater loss of water.”

The faulty connection is on Pipeline 4 immediately downstream from where the pipeline from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant ties into Pipeline 4, which conveys treated water for regional distribution. The desalination project is expected to start commercial water production this fall.

The desalination project pipeline contractor is responsible for repairs, and it will reimburse the Water Authority for all costs, including the agency’s response costs and the value of the drained water.