Emergency water bypass line successfully installed after storms damaged main pipeline
BENICIA, Calif. - Benicia has successfully installed an emergency bypass to its main water line after it was damaged during recent storms, the city announced Thursday.
The city declared an emergency on April 5 as a result of the pipeline damage, which occurred when a hillside collapsed on March 29 in Fairfield. The slope failure occurred just outside the city's limits, near Interstate Highway 680 and Gold Hill Road.
Construction of the bypass began on April 4 and residents were ordered to reduce their water use by 40 percent while crews worked on the problem.
Now that a bypass has been created, residents are being asked to reduce their water use by 20 percent, the city said.
This means residents are asked not to wash sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts, patios or other paved areas and must repair any controllable leaks. Residents are also prohibited from allowing water to run off unused into a gutter, ditch or drain, using a hand-held hose that does not have an automatic shutoff nozzle, or irrigating during a rain event.
Outdoor irrigation must be confined to the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily and vehicle washing must be done using a bucket or hand-held hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle.
Benicia Public Works Director Kyle Ochenduszko said that city water usually comes through the impacted 14-mile pipeline from Lake Berryessa and the Delta, and when they first noticed soil erosion in the area several weeks ago, they began to monitor the pipe and its pressure.
Crews eventually found a leak that was approximately near Lopes Road. Crews also noticed that erosion had grown significantly since the last rainstorm. At that point, the city turned off the pipeline and switched to an alternate water source, Lake Herman.
According to the city, as of Thursday, the Valero oil refinery will continue to get its water from Lake Herman, but the rest of the city will go back to using Lake Berryessa and the Delta as its primary water sources again.
Meanwhile, the bypass line will continue to be expanded to accommodate summer water usage, the city said, but repairs to the main line could take more than a year.
A website has been created to provide a one-stop source for information about the pipeline situation, the city said. Residents can find it here.