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Corroded pipeline in La Jolla will get protection system

The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to spend $610,000 to protect five aging water pipelines determined to be at critical risk of breaking due to corrosion.

The plan by the city’s Public Utilities Department is to protect 14 miles of pipes by using a cathodic protection system, in which a type of metal more likely to corrode is placed against the existing pipe. The reaction to oxygen that leads to corrosion takes place on the sacrificial metal, thus buying up to 15 more years of life for the pipe.

The city estimates the cost to actually replace the pipes is $21 million.

Most of the city’s water mains are more than 50 years old, and breaks are not uncommon. According to the city, 60 percent of the failures are because of corrosion.

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The protection systems will be installed on pipelines serving La Jolla, Sorrento Valley, Clairemont Mesa, Mission Valley and Serra Mesa.