DSRSD and EBMUD test emergency water connections

Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) yesterday began preparing to test emergency interties between their water distribution networks by flushing standby pipelines on the southwest corner of Davona Drive and Alcosta Blvd. in Dublin. Years ago, the agencies built emergency connections in three locations where their water mains are close together. Although they have never been used, the interties are designed to maintain public safety during a critical water shortage caused by a major pipeline failure, earthquake, drought, or fire.

“Emergencies can disrupt water service. Interties between water agencies allow us to share water during emergencies and make critical repairs,” said EBMUD Director of Operations and Maintenance Michael Wallis.

“We strive to provide reliable water service, even during natural disasters,” said DSRSD Operations Manager Dan Gallagher, “and to do so we need to ensure that the emergency water connections between our two agencies are ready for immediate use. The recent earthquake in Napa was a reminder that natural disasters can happen at any time. The tests we’re conducting this month are essential for measuring water pressures and flow rates and training field staff from both agencies how to quickly install and operate the interties.”

Before the water transfer begins, each agency must flush their pipelines near the standby connections with clean water. These pipelines are essentially “dead-end lines” and are not used regularly. In yesterday’s flushing operation, DSRSD used 8,000 gallons of water, which was captured and recycled. EBMUD also flushed the lines on its side of the intertie. All of its flushing water, about 2,000 gallons, was trucked and used to irrigate Richard Fahey Village Green Park in San Ramon.

“We are reusing the water from this test by irrigating a local park. Flushing is operationally necessary, but during this drought, EBMUD is finding ways to reuse its flushing water so it’s not wasted,” said Wallis.

Twenty-four hours after flushing, the districts will test for any signs of bacteriological contamination in their pipes. A second sample will be collected and analyzed 24 hours after the original test.

“Assuming all the tests are good,” said DSRSD Field Operations Supervisor Jim Dryden, “we will install temporary piping to connect the interties and water will start flowing on Thursday and continue into Friday.” A meter will monitor the amount of water flowing from EBMUD to DSRSD, and a pressure reducing valve will maintain the proper pressure and flow between the systems.

Within a few weeks, an equal amount of water will be transferred from DSRSD to EBMUD via another emergency intertie located on Dougherty Road, north of North Gale Ridge Road, in San Ramon. Flushing at this location will use about 18,600 gallons of water, all of which will be captured and reused for irrigation or construction.

DSRSD and EBMUD signed their first emergency water services agreement in June of 1990 with two intertie connections and subsequently added a third. DSRSD and the City of Pleasanton signed an emergency intertie agreement in 1996 with two intertie connections between the two agencies. In addition to its interties with DSRSD, EBMUD has nine pipeline connections that tie together EBMUD’s water systems with other water systems, including San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Contra Costa Water District and the City of Hayward.

DSRSD provides water to Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon and EBMUD serves the rest of San Ramon and 21 other communities in the East Bay.