SCV’s purple pipe springs a leak

Signal file photo

The Santa Clarita Valley’s purple pipe sprung a leak last month and it cost more than $110,000 to fix.

The three miles of pipeline transporting recycled water – typically referred to as purple pipe – represents the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s inaugural step using recycled water.

The agency’s “Phase 1” pipeline built in the 1990’s carries water treated at the Valencia Water Reclamation Plant on The Old Road, just north of Six Flags Magic Mountain, south along The Old Road and then west along Valencia Boulevard where it crosses The Old Road  to a Recycled Water Tank near West Ranch High School.

Along the way, the Agency’s Recycled Water pipeline delivers water to the Tournament Players Club Valencia golf course where it waters the 10th and 11th holes, helping with the conservation of about 430 acre-feet of water in a year.

To picture an acre-foot of water, imagine a football field filled with water one-foot deep.

On March 5, however, the recycled water pipeline sprung a leak.

Water was seen seeping up through the concrete pavement at several locations near the intersection of The Old Road and Magic Mountain Parkway, according to a report prepared by Brian J. Folsom, the agency’s Engineering and Operations Manager, for the agency’s regular board meeting Wednesday.

In his report, Folsom blames the leak on “a corroded section of pipe.”

Asked why a relatively new pipeline could be corroded, Folsom told The Signal Tuesday: “It is somewhat unusual for pipe this ‘new’ to be corroded to this extent.

“We have not yet determined the cause of the corrosion,” he said.

Nevertheless, it took a week of repairs to stop the leak and replace the corroded section of pipe.  The week-long repairs cost the agency’s on-call contractors, Mesa Engineering, $111,201 to repair the purple pipe, with an additional $8,000 to $10,000 anticipated in extra costs.

On Wednesday, Folsom is recommending the agency’s board amends the contractor’s on-call contract to reflect at least $125,000 to cover the cost of the corroded pipe repairs.

The work required to fix the leak included excavation, traffic control, replacing landscaping and irrigation systems.

And, as agency staffers try to figure out how and why a relatively new pipe became corroded, the CLWA is pressing ahead on laying more purple pipe, counting on recycled water pipelines to offset water consumption as the Santa Clarita Valley continues to grow.

The agency is vigorously pursuing Phase 2 of its recycled water plan, supplying about 1,600 acre-feet of recycled water each year to the SCV’s “large irrigation customers” such as Central Park, College of the Canyons and the California Institute of the Arts.

The estimated cost of Phase 2 purple pipe is about $46.4 million.

By 2020, water officials hope an estimated 22,744 acre-feet of water will be recycled in and around Santa Clarita, watering our parks, school yards, wilderness tracts along our paseos and, of course, on more golf courses.

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