A fresh start for old pipes
This year, a 123-year-old pipe emerged in Oakland. Underground since 1893, it was still delivering water to customers. While pipes this old are rare, many parts of our system date back to the 1920s and 1940s when cast iron was the prime pipe material of its time.
EBMUD is tackling the dirty and difficult job of replacing our 4,200-mile system of water mains. Corrosion, seismic hazards, landslides and age pose challenges—making pipes vulnerable to leaks and breaks—and consequently water outages.
That’s why a new EBMUD team is focused on increasing the amount of pipes we replace from 10 miles up to 40 miles every year. The team is looking at everything from innovative pipe technologies to improved installation methods. A few years shy of celebrating our centennial anniversary, this is EBMUD’s plan to ensure our pipes best serve today’s customers—and those 100 years from now.
In the Kensington Hills, on the Hayward Fault, our crews installed 1,800 feet of earthquake-resistant ductile iron pipe. This pipe technology is new to EBMUD, but, since the 1970s, has a perfect track record in Japan for surviving powerful tremors. The secret is in the pipe’s flexible joints. During a large earthquake or landslide, the joints can compress, extend and deflect without failing.
In Richmond, San Pablo, Lafayette and Walnut Creek, EBMUD is using a trenchless pipeline renewal method that requires less digging and neighborhood disruptions. This method involves inserting a structural liner in the existing pipes, making them like new.
We are constantly on the move upgrading and renewing our water mains. You can expect to see EBMUD crews at work in your community, installing the next generation of pipes, to keep our water system running smoothly.