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

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.

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.

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

Your Water Plumbing System

The water system for a home or other property is connected to a City water main through a water lateral service line via a water meter. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of any portion of the water system from the meter. A diagram showing the division between what is the City’s responsibility and what is the responsibility of the property owner can be found here .

  • Checking for Water Leaks on Your Property
  • Water Meters
    • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
    • Water Meter Leaks
    • How to Read Your Water Meter
  • Water Pressure – What to do if your water pressure is too high or too low.
  • Water Hardness – Typically, drinking water in San Diego averages about 16 grains per gallon (gr/gal) or 276 parts per million (ppm), and depending upon water demand and area of the City you live can range from 16 to 18 gr/gal or 272 to 284 ppm. More details are available in the annual Drinking Water Quality Reports.
  • GIS Information (Maps and Records) – The City’s Development Services Department has records showing when your water line was installed and can provide a map showing where your water line connects to the City’s water main. You can schedule an appointment to review the records by calling 619-446-5300. However, the City does not have diagrams or other information regarding where water lines are located on your property. For that information, you may want to contact a licensed plumber.
  • Water Construction and Development – Information about permits and fees, design guidelines and standards, approved materials list and more
  • Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention Programs

The water system for a home or other property is connected to a City water main through a water lateral service line via a water meter. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of any portion of the water system from the meter. A diagram showing the division between what is the City's responsibility and what is the responsibility of the property owner can be found