Hotels to correct leaks in sprinkler equipment, plumbing

Both properties say they are working with city code enforcement to prevent more water waste

A La Jolla Shores resident and La Jolla Light reader, who strolls by Hotel La Jolla during her morning walks, phoned to report leaky sprinkler equipment, which she said has been steadily dripping for months on end, despite bringing it to the attention of hotel staff.

“What bothers me is we’re in a drought and we’re supposed to conserve water,” said the woman, who chose to voice her grievance anonymously. “They come out and they fix it and it stays fixed for a few weeks or a month and then it starts running again. … No wonder they have gnats flying all over the lawn.”

Contacted by the Light, the hotel’s general manager, Shannon Foster, said the equipment in question controls water pressure as it flows from the city. She said the hotel’s chief engineer would contact the company that services the equipment to make an adjustment and stop the leak.

“We’re looking into that,” Foster assured, adding her chief engineer also found that three of the hotel’s sprinklers — which water the grounds for a few hours several times a week, starting at 11 p.m. — were also leaking. “The covers have been replaced and the sprinklers are no longer leaking,” she said.

City of San Diego code compliance officer Anita Koyama said the city responds to irrigation leaks with a written letter, a follow-up warning and then a citation. “We give them three chances … with irrigation,” she said, assuring the hotel would receive a letter this week. “With anything else, more than likely they’d get a citation right away.”

La Valencia leak

Meanwhile Koyama said a small, but persistent leak in the water system at La Valencia Hotel on Prospect Street reported last fall is being corrected by the hotel, though noting the repair must be completed soon as Coast Boulevard concrete will be replaced in the coming months, directly below the hotel.

“We can’t have water flowing down into that street,” she said.

La Valencia managing director Mark Dibella said the hotel has remained in weekly contact with Koyama via its chief engineer, Jason Sealee. “We have worked with a multitude of professional trades to determine the origin of the leak, which has included sonar and camera, excavation and demolition,” Dibella said. “Our costs to uncover the source of problem thus far have exceeded $10,000. As the pending street work approaches, … (we installed) a pump to reclaim the leaking water and return it to proper drains on the property.”

Dibella said the hotel is awaiting two proposals this week that could provide options to solve the leak, the source of which is believed to be from a water line underneath one of the hotel’s Villa buildings. “Proposals would involve rerouting water lines completely,” he said, noting that solving the issue remains a “top priority” for the hotel.