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Miles of aging water lines remain under San Diego

Posted at 5:32 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 20:40:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — City and Caltrans crews remained at work in downtown Tuesday, cleaning up the mess after two water main breaks on Sunday closed freeway on-ramps and flooded businesses.

The first break came from a 76-year-old cast iron pipe near 11th and A street, which flooded local businesses and snarled traffic. Some time later, a 62-year-old concrete steel cylinder pipe failed near balboa park.

"The fact that it's supposed to be America's Finest City and we've got 100-year-old pipes bursting under the streets is kind of unacceptable," said Lacey Hunter, who works near Balboa Park.

RELATED: Multiple water main breaks shut down downtown San Diego roadways

Since 2013, the city has been working to replace about 180 miles of cast-iron pipes with much more reliable PVC piping. In that time, water main breaks have dropped from a peak of 131 in 2010 to 33 in 2020.

A city spokesman said Tuesday that by 2025, the last 25 miles of cast-iron would be replaced. But that won't solve the threat completely. Most of the city's pipelines are concrete. And while they're more reliable than cast iron, they do fail, such as the case in Balboa Park.

The city spokesman said, however, that they are checked on a regular basis.