Friday, October 9, 2009

Long Beach Finishes Year with Record Low Main Breaks

Long Beach Finishes Fiscal Year with Record Low Number of Main Breaks

26 main breaks occurred in Long Beach during the past 12 months, the lowest annual total ever for the City; coincides with record high levels of water conservation

LONG BEACH, CA – Today, the Long Beach Water Department reported that during Fiscal Year 2009, the City of Long Beach experienced the lowest number of water main breaks ever in its history. The news comes on the heels of a Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners announcement made last week that reported the lowest annual citywide water demand since 1965. Long Beach water consumption was 17 percent below the city’s historical 10-year average during FY ’09.

Paul Blanco, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners, expressed satisfaction upon learning of the news that a new record low for water main breaks had been set. “This is truly wonderful news for the City of Long Beach,” stated Blanco. “It really demonstrates that a proactive, sustained commitment to replacing and upgrading critical water and sewer infrastructure throughout our city can make all the difference in the world,” added Blanco.

The Long Beach Water Department has invested nearly $90 million since FY ‘98 to upgrade the city’s older, less reliable cast-iron water infrastructure, which is more susceptible to frequent, costlier breaks. The Water Department has replaced as much as 107,000 linear feet per year of the older cast iron pipeline, installing a newer, more reliable ductile iron pipe in its place.

Throughout the 1990s, it was common to have well over 100 main breaks each year in Long Beach. The success of the main replacement program has caused these numbers to drop dramatically. Some relevant facts and figures:

• The average number of annual main breaks in Long Beach between FY 91 and FY 00 was 133

• The average number of annual main breaks in Long Beach between FY 01 and FY 09 was 59

• The total number of main breaks that occurred in FY 09 was only 14% of the total number of main breaks that occurred in FY 91

“For many years now, the Water Department has taken a more proactive approach to our comprehensive infrastructure maintenance program,” said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “Ideally, our goal would be to refresh our system every 20 years. Although that may not always be entirely possible, by keeping this goal in mind, we have been able to make solid progress toward ensuring the infrastructure that we use to deliver water and sewer services to our customers is more dependable and less vulnerable to unexpected failures,” continued Wattier.

“It is also important to note that fewer main breaks result in fewer interruptions to service, which provides for an improved quality of life for all Long Beach residents,” added Wattier.

The Long Beach Water Department is an urban, southern California retail water supply agency and the standard in water conservation and environmental stewardship.

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