By Khalida Sarwari
It will be maintenance crews, not water, rushing through a large 10-mile water pipe in Campbell this week as part of an effort to make any necessary repairs.
Work on the Central Pipeline, which moves raw, untreated water from the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant in San Jose to the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant in Los Gatos, began last week and is expected to last through the end of March.
“The Central Pipeline is a critical part of our network,” said Jim Crowley, a maintenance engineering manager for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, “because it allows us to move water north and south as well as east and west.”
In order to conduct the inspection and repairs, crews first had to lock up the 66-inch pipeline, which meant discharging the water to three nearby creeks–the Guadalupe, Coyote and Los Gatos creeks, according to Crowley.
Because the water from the pipeline is only a small percentage of the city’s total water supply, the draining does not affect Campbell, Crowley said.
Crews this week will be crawling through the pipeline and searching for any air relief valves or piping that may need to be fixed or replaced. Crowley said so far they have found some minor cracking, but there was “nothing to be worried about.”
“Everything was as we expected it to be,” Crowley said.
Crews can be seen staging work and entering the vaults at locations along the pipeline, but there are no scheduled road closures as the bulk of the work is being done inside the pipeline or in underground vaults.
Crews will spend seven to nine days at each location along the pipeline. There are eight locations in all, including one at Hamilton Avenue and Highway 17.
The Central Pipeline, installed about 40 years ago, is a key element of the water delivery network to bring imported water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the water district’s three water treatment plants.
The total cost of the project is about $250,000 and is covered by water charges to the district’s retailers, according to Crowley.
The project is part of a routine maintenance program that the water district carries out on two or three pipelines annually, usually during the winter, when the flow rate tends to be less, said Crowley.
For more information about the Central Pipeline project, contact Thomas Lau at 408.265.2607, ext. 2587, or visit www.valleywater.org and use the Access Valley Water customer request and information system.