Local residents should avoid outdoor watering from March 18-27, when a robot will be used to inspect about 13,000 feet of pipeline starting near the Rose Bowl and ending in La Cañada Flintridge, said Daniel Drugan, a technician for the Foothill Municipal Water District.
The work requires halting imported water deliveries so that a robot may be lowered into the pipe to conduct an inspection. Residents and businesses served by Valley Water Co., La Cañada Irrigation District and Mesa Crest Water Co. — which will alert customers by changing the Conservation Alert Status to “Red” Critical Conservation — will be affected, Drugan said.
“It’s only out of abundance of caution, so we don’t have to go for more expensive supplies or other means of providing water service,” said Drugan, who added that outdoor use includes watering lawns and landscaping, and accounts for about 70% of local water usage.
Engineer Ken Herman said the pipeline system was built in the 1950s and modified in the 1970s and that they will assist FMWD in determining any need for rehabilitation work. By inspecting and rehabilitating the pipe before there is a leak, emergency shutdowns and costlier repairs can be avoided.
“In general, we have no expectation that the inspection is going to find any huge problem,” Herman said, adding that the robot will be able to do its inspection through water in the pipes.
“This is more ‘catch it before it’s a problem.’ They hired me to develop a program where we could start addressing our issues ahead of time, and this system is in the 60-year range, and it’s starting to want to retire as many of us are wanting to retire, so we’re wanting to make sure it’ll go another life span.”
— Mirjam Swanson