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Metropolitan Board Authorizes Repairs to South Orange County Water Line.

Business/News Editors

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 11, 2000

Following through on its commitment to maintain and assure reliable imported water supplies, particularly with summer months approaching, Metropolitan Water District's board of directors today authorized repairs to a major water line serving south Orange County.

Metropolitan's board approved $4.5 million to remove and replace 18 sections of pre-stressed concrete pipe at six locations along the Allen-McColloch Pipeline after recent tests indicated the segments may have been weakened by broken reinforcing wires within the conduit. The district is planning two separate shutdowns in late April and early May to replace the concrete pipeline sections with welded steel pipe.

"In providing up to 60 percent of the water Southern Californians use in and around their homes, Metropolitan must periodically repair or replace the facilities that import these supplies from hundreds of miles away. Repair work like this comes with the job of providing the Southland with reliable water," said Eddie Rigdon, assistant group manager of Metropolitan's water system operations.

"We are working closely with the Municipal Water District of Orange County and other south county water agencies to make these repairs now and to prevent any potential interruptions during the hot summer months ahead," Rigdon said.

Stretching 26 miles from MWD's Robert B. Diemer Filtration Plant in Yorba Linda to the El Toro Reservoir in Lake Forest, the Allen-McColloch Pipeline helps provide treated drinking water to much of Orange County. Last December, the pipeline ruptured along the Portola Parkway in Irvine due to a water pressure surge caused by operational error, impacting the supplies of about 500,000 south county residents.

Following the rupture and repair of the pipeline, Metropolitan shut down and drained the water line for six days in February to physically inspect the line's 9.5 miles of concrete pipe and conduct electronic tests to determine the conduit's soundness.

Results of the remote field eddy current testing, which uses an electromagnetic field to determine the integrity of reinforcing wires in pre-stressed concrete pipe, revealed the 18 pipeline sections to be replaced during one of the upcoming shutdowns. The test results showed the segments as containing 30 or more broken wires, with one 20-foot pipe section having up to 200 estimated breaks.

"Like an X-ray, eddy field current testing provides new opportunities to inspect pipes. In the past, we could only inspect pipes physically and visually. Today, this relatively new testing method gives us the ability to actually look inside the walls of a pipe and determine its condition," Rigdon said. "Unfortunately, there's no way of determining what caused these breaks because the testing methods only assess a pipe's current condition."

During the initial shutdown, scheduled April 25-28, Metropolitan plans to temporarily connect the Allen-McColloch Pipeline to the nearby Baker Pipeline, a raw water line running parallel to the MWD pipeline. Once connected, the Baker Pipeline, operated by the Santiago Aqueduct Commission, will be converted to make treated water deliveries during the second shutdown. During the following May 2-16 shutdown, Metropolitan will replace the pre-stressed concrete pipeline sections.

"Operational procedures and safeguards are in place to protect the pipeline prior to the needed repairs and construction," Rigdon said.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a consortium composed of 27 cities and water agencies serving nearly 17 million people in six counties. The District imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water-recycling, desalination, conservation, storage and other water-management programs.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Apr 11, 2000
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