San Diego County Water Authority responds to Rancho Peñasquitos water spill

November 19, 2003

On Nov.18 at approximately 9:30 p.m., the San Diego County Water Authority discovered water flowing out of an air release/vacuum…

On Nov.18 at approximately 9:30 p.m., the San Diego County Water Authority discovered water flowing out of an air release/vacuum valve structure on the agency’s Pipeline 5. The structure is located in Rancho Peí±asquitos just north of Carmel Mountain Road. Pipeline 5, which had recently been drained for routine internal inspection and maintenance, was in the process of being refilled when the incident occurred.

The water flowed from the valve structure, which is located at a high point between Black Mountain Middle School to the north and Carmel Mountain Preschool to the south, flooding both the middle school and the preschool. Shortly after Water Authority personnel in the area reported the incident, staff at the agency’s control facility in Escondido stopped the water flow into Pipeline 5.

A crew from J.F. Shea Construction, Inc., a Water Authority contractor working on a project to reline the adjacent Pipelines 3 and 4, mistakenly removed a valve assembly from the Pipeline 5 structure instead of Pipeline 4 resulting in the spill. Water Authority operations and maintenance personnel reinstalled the valve assembly on Pipeline 5 early Wednesday morning. Pipeline 5 is operational and water is currently flowing in the pipeline.

Water Authority staff and J.F. Shea employees met with the owner of the preschool and administrators from the middle school to assess water damage and worked throughout the night to assist in clean up efforts. Insurance adjustors for the Water Authority and J.F. Shea toured the two schools today.

Pipeline 5 provides untreated water to the Olivenhain and Badger (San Dieguito & Santa Fe) Treatment Plants. This pipeline ends in the vicinity of Mercy Road and I-15 and fills Pipeline 4 south of this point to serve the following treatment plants: Miramar (San Diego), Alvarado (San Diego), Perdue (Sweetwater), and Otay (San Diego).

The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to support the region’s $126 billion economy and the quality of life of 3 million residents.

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  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

    Media Contact Information

    Grace Sevilla

    Phone: (619) 855-5135