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San Diego Water Managers Work To Extend Lifetime Of Massive Water Pipes

Cart hauls steel lining for water pipes under Jackson Drive in San Diego
Erik Anderson
Cart hauls steel lining for water pipes under Jackson Drive in San Diego

The San Diego County Water Authority is in the midst of a major pipeline project that will extend the life of underground water pipes in the San Carlos area. The large underground pipes carry water to the city's Alvarado Water Treatment Plant. One strech of pipe runs under Jackson Drive in San Carlos.

The existing 6-foot-diameter pipes are deteriorating much faster than expected, so the water authority is spending more than $21.2 million to add a steel lining to the existing pipeline. Officials hope that extends the pipes' expected life by about 75 years.

The concrete pipe under Jackson Drive was installed in the 1970s.


"We have 11 access portals along the pipeline route. Where we actually break into our existing pipe, insert the new steel pipe. And then mortar-line it and grout it and then close it all up, restore the surface and then we're all done," said Brent Fountain, a construction manager.

The pipes are tall enough to walk in. Crews use a pipe cart to haul the lining into place.

The Water Authority has already relined about 30 miles of underground pipe and they hope to add liners to 82 miles of pipe when they're done.