■ Replacement of 11,676 feet of water main in downtown La Jolla is expected to begin in January at a cost of $4.5 million. It will include sections of Coast Blvd., Prospect St., Ivanhoe Ave. and Exchange Place.
Water Emergency Hotline
■ (619) 515-3525
■ Open 24/7 for reporting water emergencies such as water main breaks, service leaks, valve leaks, hydrant knockovers, high line leaks, and pressure problems.
■ This hotline takes calls and dispatches crews to investigate and/or fix problems.
By Pat Sherman
The city began emergency replacement of 1,500 feet of underground water line on Country Club Drive this week, following three breaks in the past 30 days, the most recent of which, on Nov. 2, sent water gushing down the street, flooding a home in the 7100 block of Country Club Drive.
According to Stan Medina, deputy director of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department, the city paid the owner of the home $400,000 in damages after a previous water main break in the same section of Country Club Drive flooded the home in 2010.
The city’s risk management department and other city officials are working with the owner and his insurance company to negotiate reimbursement for the current flood damage.
“As a precaution to prevent further main breaks, we’re replacing 1,500 feet … going beyond (the problem area) in each direction quite a bit just to make sure that we don’t go in there and replace 300 feet, and then on the 400th foot we have another blowout and the guy gets flooded out again,” Medina said. “From what we’ve investigated and determined, the city is liable for
damages to their property. We want to reimburse them fully. We don’t want them to take us to court and sue us for additional money.”
Medina said there have actually been five breaks in the past five years to the water line beneath Country Club Drive, which is comprised of a concrete and asbestos material called Transite — the industry standard when the line was installed in 1953 (today’s lines are made of high-strength PVC pipe).
Though Medina said the reason for the water main breaks on Country Club is still being investigated, they have each occurred at joints where sections of pipe connect — about every 13 feet, he said.
Because of the street’s curvature, installation of the pipes was designed to follow the contour of Country Club Drive, and the joints had to be deflected.
“Based on my experience and knowledge, the stress on the joints is just not holding out anymore,” Medina said, noting that high water pressure has been ruled out as a factor in the breaks.
When joints fail, they are completely removed, and about two feet of pipe is cut from both sides of the break, and new pipe spliced in with couplings, he said.
“This is probably one of the first projects that we’ve ever taken on as an emergency replacement because of consistency of joint blowouts,” Medina said.