GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

San Diego water news tidbits from IROC

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 18, 2010

The Independent Rates Oversight Committee (IROC) meeting today yielded a few interesting updates from the Public Utilities Department on top of the heavily loaded agenda.

The three water main breaks widely reported in the press on Sunday were actually two water main breaks. The third incident downtown near Kettner Blvd was actually a blown gasket on a PVC-to-cast iron pipe coupling, according to the PUD’s Jim Fisher, Assistant Director of Water Operations. The other two breaks involved older cast iron pipes. The city’s average time to shut down a main after a break is about 2 hrs, 15 min.

Stan Griffith, from Wastewater Collection, reported that there have been no sewer spills since September 4 — 43 days ago. In response to committee member Jack Kubota’s question about the reason for that, Griffith noted that the city is still on track with replacing 45 miles of sewer lines per year, including the Lake Murray Trunk Sewer replacement project currently underway. Other factors include: newer technology being used for periodic cleaning/flushing of pipes allows higher pressure for better cleaning and permits larger pipes to be serviced. Each spill gets a CCTV exam to help determine the cause. The goal is to have zero spills caused by maintenance issues. Mr. Kubota noted that sewer spills aren’t always caused by problems with plumbing, as turned out to be the case with the large Carlsbad sewage spill that was an indirect effect of an electrical problem elsewhere.

Alex Ruiz, PUD Assistant Director, promised to conduct a water rate workshop for IROC before the end of November. The workshop will be open to the public. He also reported a plan for a pilot deployment of automated water meters. Also…PUD is short about 102 positions right now, for a vacancy rate of 6.5%. He said the department is having difficulty recruiting qualified persons, especially for vital technical positions, and attributed the problem in part to the retirement plan and public relations issues.

Here’s the complete agenda packet for the meeting:

 

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