Miles of pipe under San Diego County being inspected

Water inspectors checking for wear and tear

SAN DIEGO - A massive project to repair hundreds of miles of water pipes underneath San Diego County is under way.

San Diego County Water Authority maintenance technicians and contractors are walking the steel and concrete pipes looking for any blemishes that could become a problem in the future.

"These pipes run the length of the county," said San Diego County Water Authority spokeswoman Teresa Penunuri, who escorted 10News reporter Joe Little into the pipes beneath Mira Mesa.

The SDCWA owns and operates more than 300 miles of pipes that pump millions of gallons of water every second from the Colorado River and Sacramento Bay Delta. The pipes were drained and the water re-routed before the inspections could begin.

The pipes are designed to last at least 50 years, but can last much longer with regular inspections and maintenance. Sensors built into the interior of the pipes can measure water pressure and flow, but they can’t replace the detail detected by a trained technician’s eye.

"Every once in a while we have to get in there, get eyes on it, do some maintenance," said Penunuri.

Penunuri said the SDCWA regularly inspects all of its pipes during the winter when water usage is at its lowest.

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