GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup – Nov 11-17, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 18, 2013

Lower Otay reservoir and dam. The reservoir's capacity is 49,849 acre-feet. Imported water helps keep levels the end of October it was 73% filled (click image to enlarge).

Lower Otay reservoir and dam. The reservoir’s capacity is 49,849 acre-feet. Imported water helps keep levels up…at the end of October it was 73% filled (click image to enlarge).


Court finds PVC pipe manufacturer guilty of fraud, City of San Diego among victims

According to a news release from PR Newswire last Thursday, a Los Angeles federal district court jury found that JM Eagle, a large pipe manufacturer, “knowingly manufactured and sold to government entities substandard plastic pipe that was used in water and sewer systems in various states around the country.” The company will have to pay unspecified damages to the many entities that purchased the substandard PVC pipe.

The City of San Diego and San Diego County are listed as being participants in the case. While City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s pleased reaction to the verdict is quoted in the news release, the San Diego Public Utilities Department (PUD) and San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) on Friday were not able to answer my questions, including how extensive these pipes are in their systems and which, if any, have already failed.

[Update: on Monday SDCWA representative Mike Lee informed me the Authority was not involved in the case…in fact they don’t use PVC pipe at all, so it’s not clear what agency the news item referred to when it said “San Diego County” was a participant in the suit. As for the City, PUD’s Brent Eidson noted that it’s difficult to pin down which pipes came from a given manufacturer because so much installation work is outsourced and pipe purchases are done by the contractors.]

The news release said that “Nevada was one of the largest purchasers of JM Eagle pipe and experienced many failures of that pipe.”

The news release from PR Newswire gives a good summary of the overall case, and considerable background information is listed on the Philips & Cohen website (a representative for the plaintiffs).



Repeat water line breaks on La Jolla street raise concerns about infrastructure / La Jolla Light : “The city began emergency replacement of 1,500 feet of underground water line on Country Club Drive this week, following three breaks in the past 30 days, the most recent of which, on Nov. 2, sent water gushing down the street, flooding a home in the 7100 block of Country Club Drive….”

San Diego on track for one of the driest years on record / KPBS : “San Diego might get a trace of rain this weekend, according to the National Weather Service, but it’s not likely to veer us off course for being one of the driest years on record…”

Desalination isn’t the answer to California’s water problem / Los Angeles Times : “Ocean water desalination doesn’t pencil out. It’s far too expensive to produce potable water from seawater — about $2,000 an acre foot, compared to about $1,000 an acre foot for imported water. It requires a tremendous amount of energy to purify saltwater. And there are potentially serious environmental impacts from sucking in millions of gallons of ocean water and pumping the leftover brine back into the ocean…”

Water use triples at East County project / U-T San Diego : “A San Diego Gas & Electric substation being built in East County is using three times as much water as originally approved in environmental documents, a drain on groundwater supplies that concerns residents…”

Public invited to participate in water quality improvement plan / Port of San Diego : “Community groups, residents and businesses are encouraged to attend a public workshop to discuss the San Diego Bay Watershed’s water quality issues and potential solutions that will help inform the planning process…”


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