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Carlsbad Looks to Prevent Sewage Spills With High-Tech System

The City of Carlsbad is looking at possible installation of a hi-tech system to prevent a repeat of the huge sewage spill into Buena Vista Lagoon early last month. Alan Ray has more.

Carlsbad Looks to Prevent Sewage Spills With High-Tech System

The City of Carlsbad is looking at possible installation of a hi-tech system to prevent a repeat of the huge sewage spill into Buena Vista Lagoon early last month. Alan Ray has more.

It sounds a bit strange, water running through copper pipes creates electrical currents, and the currents cause a chemical reaction the leads to corrosion -- and failure -- of the pipes. But that's the science of it.

The solution may be devices called "cathode protection systems". They're electronic devices used in most new sewer lines. They're attached to the pipes by wires, controlling and diverting the electric charge away from the pipe. They increase pipe life span, reduce pipeline failures and reduce maintenance costs.

The North County Times reports the city of Carlsbad may spend about $2 million to study and install cathode protection systems.

There's no indication such a system could have prevented the 7.3 million-gallon Buena Vista Lagoon sewage spill in early April, but there is hope that it might help prevent another one.

The City of Encinitas already has cathode protection devices on the main metal pipes that handle its water and sewage.

Alan Ray, KPBS News.