San Diego working to replace 100-year-old water pipes

Posted at 1:32 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 21:19:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The latest water main break Sunday in the Midway District is the latest example of San Diego’s aging water system. But the city is working to fix the issue, replacing more than 100 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes.

According to city documents, since 2013, San Diego spent $328 million to repair and replace 116 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes.

A total of 72 miles of those repairs were on cast iron pipes, the oldest ones in the system. The project started in 2007 and sparked a rate increase to pay for the work.

RELATED: Water main break in Midway District causes flooding, shuts down road

As older piper are replaced, the city has seen the number of water main breaks decrease. "We have more than 3,000 miles of pipeline," said department spokesperson Brent Eidson, "To do it properly, we're probably always going to be replacing pipes."

Throughout the project, older pipes made from concrete or cast iron are being replaced with new PVC pipes. Edison says PVC is the industry standard. Pipes made from the material usually last between 50-75 years.

The city says its water system extends more than 400 square miles and moves roughly 172 million gallons per day. Included in that area is 49 water pumping stations, 29 treated water storage facilities, three water treatment plants and more than 3,300 miles of pipelines.

The city hopes to have all the cast iron distribution lines replaced by 2018-19. The goal is to have all the larger cast iron transmission mains replaced by 2023. Some of the cast iron pipes are nearly 100 years old.

The following numbers were provided to 10News by the Public Utilities Department and list the number of breaks over the last six years.

2012: 102

2013: 95

2014: 74

2015: 63

2016: 85

2017: 81 (as of October 20)

2018: 29 (as of August 5)