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Pipeline leak gets emergency $75K repair

OCEANSIDE — A routine visual inspection of facilities by city workers spotted a pipeline leak that requires a $75,000 emergency repair. 

The broken pipeline is one of two pipelines that transport water in and out of the Guajome Reservoir, which stores water for firefighting and summer use demands.

“Crews are routinely doing inspections including the reservoir site,” Cari Dale, water utilities director, said. “Bubbling up is typically what we see.”

The spotted leak was unexpected given the age of the pipeline.

“It’s not that old,” Dale said. “It’s not something we would have expected to have had a leak.”

The repairs are considered an emergency need.

“We were concerned about the reservoir, that it stayed operational,” Dale said.

The 24-inch pipe is located on reservoir property. It sits 15 feet below ground and is situated under an exterior block wall, which makes getting to the pipe to conduct the repairs more challenging.

“It needs significant repairs outside of what the city would normally do,” Dale said. “We hired an outside contractor to conduct repairs.”

The pipe leak was spotted on Aug. 15. In a few short days the city had completed a bidding process and hired contactor C.E. Wilson who was on site Aug. 17 to begin repairs.

City Council was notified of the emergency on Aug. 16 and officially OK’d the funds for the repair on Aug. 21.

The repair process entails tearing down a section of the wall, and digging down five yards to reach the pipe and repair it. After the pipe is repaired it is buried and the block wall that sits on top of it is rebuilt.

“The depth is significant,” Dale said. “It’s deeper than city crews could safely work.”

Without repairs there is a high potential for the continuous leak to cause slope change and property damage.

“The amount of water coming out of the pipe is significant enough that if it was not repaired it would lead to damage,” Dale said.

City Manager Pete Weiss said the repairs, including rebuilding the block wall, would be completed within a week.

So far the runoff from the leak has not caused damage.

“We’re trying to isolate it,” Dale said. “We are not able to turn it off. It’s a large pipe going into and out of the reservoir. There are no valves up and downstream.”

The second pipeline will continue to transport water to and from the reservoir during repairs. Dale said there would be no interruption of service to customers.