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October 16, 2012 > Water District to earthquake-proof pipelines

Water District to earthquake-proof pipelines

Submitted By Frank Jahn

Beginning in the summer of 2013, the Alameda County Water District will embark on a number of projects that will help protect Tri-City residents from water service disruptions after a major earthquake. Large diameter water pipelines crossing the Hayward Fault will be retrofitted to better accommodate movement that would cause them to rupture during a large earthquake. Fifteen pipelines at 13 sites in Fremont and Union City will be upgraded.

"If a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault occurred today, much of the Tri-City area might suddenly find itself without water," said ACWD Board President John Weed. "Although we cannot promise that there will be no outages, these projects will help to keep the water flowing and allow us to recover more quickly after an earthquake."

The Hayward Fault, which runs through eastern portions of Fremont and Union City, is overdue to produce a major earthquake, according to experts. On average, the fault slips and causes a strong earthquake every 140 years. The last time it caused a major earthquake was in 1868, 144 years ago.

"Fifteen major pipelines cross the Hayward Fault," said Robert Shaver, ACWD Engineering Manager. "Upgrading these pipelines will help to save both lives and property after 'the big one.'"

ACWD is also procuring emergency repair materials that will be stockpiled for use after an earthquake. These materials will speed the repair of ruptured water mains and allow the District to more quickly restore water service to Tri-City residents and businesses.

Pipeline retrofitting is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013 and should be completed by December 2014. During this time, neighborhoods in Fremont and Union City where these pipelines are located will experience street closures and traffic disruptions. Residents and businesses in these areas will be notified ahead of time through letters and neighborhood meetings of when the work will take place.

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