FALLBROOK – A major water main that runs under the San Luis Rey River could cost as much as $4 million to repair according to a study completed by consultants working for the Rainbow Municipal Water District.
The pipe ruptured in the early morning hours of December 8 after a heavy rain. The 22-inch steel line was built in 1995 and delivers water to the district’s service area south of SR 76; one remaining pipe now provides that service.
The District hired RBF Consulting out of San Diego to evaluate options for fixing or replacing the pipeline. The 52-page report evaluates several options with costs ranging from around $700,000 to more than $4 million.
“The recommendation is to conduct an inspection of the inside of the pipeline using a robotic camera so we can narrow down our options,” said Rainbow general manager Dave Seymour.
“Once we know the extent of the damage we can determine which method of repair will be the most cost effective,” added Seymour. “If there is only one bad spot in the pipe we may be able to repair that section; if there are numerous problems we may have to replace the entire pipe.”
The pipe is buried almost 30 feet below the river, so excavation would require special techniques to remove water and prevent cave-ins. The location is in an environmentally sensitive area so extra precautions are needed to protect the environment.
One of the consultant’s options is to relocate the pipe out of the river bed and use existing bridges to get the pipe across the river.
“Unfortunately, that is one of the more expensive approaches,” said Seymour, “but it does eliminate the environmental concerns and makes the pipe more accessible for future repairs. We will evaluate all of our options.”
Submitted by Rainbow Municipal Water District.