Suburban Water Systems’ (Suburban) distribution mains transport water to customers for drinking and domestic uses, irrigation, and fire protection throughout the service area. The distribution mains deteriorate over time and eventually reach the end of their useful life, with one indication being pipe breaks. Suburban works to proactively replace more than 1% of its distribution mains every year to reduce the number of pipe breaks and associated service outages, helping to provide a safe and reliable water supply. The Harvest Moon Pipeline Project in the City of West Covina is part of Suburban’s 2023 main replacement program. The project will replace approximately 1,700 ft of the 12-inch waterline on Harvest Moon St. from Lark Ellen Ave. to Oakgreen Ave. in the City of West Covina. Construction began in March 2023 and is expected to last until July 2023.
The existing waterline is nearly 70 years old and is made of asbestos cement pipe, a common pipeline material installed at that time. This pipe material is prone to brittle failure that causes a large blowout instead of a small leak, which substantially damages street paving and the main. The main on Harvest Moon is located behind the curb and below the customers’ driveways and front yards. Due to the pipe’s poor condition, there have been 11 main breaks on Harvest Moon St since 2008. Each of these breaks has resulted in service interruptions to the customers, including extended shutdowns and damage to customers’ driveways and landscaping. This pipe will be replaced with a modern PVC pipe that is more robust and will be in the street to reduce the risk of damaging customers’ driveways and landscaping in the future.
The need for Suburban’s proactive pipeline replacement program is exemplified by the fact that this project was originally scheduled for construction in 2025 but was expedited to 2023 due to the number and increasing frequency of main breaks in recent years. Analysis of Suburban’s historical break data indicates that as a particular pipeline experiences more breaks, the average duration until the next break becomes shorter. This suggests that the existing pipeline on Harvest Moon would likely experience more frequent breaks shortly. Suburban evaluated the urgency of this project and determined that it could not wait until 2025 and moved it up in the schedule of main replacements.
The Harvest Moon Pipeline Project is part of Suburban’s commitment to providing safe and reliable water to the community. By being proactive, the number of future service interruptions should be minimized, and we appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation during this critical project.The Harvest Moon Pipeline Project is part of Suburban’s commitment to providing safe and reliable water to the community. By being proactive, the number of future service interruptions should be minimized, and we appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation during this critical project.
Photo 1: Installing the replacement PVC waterline on Harvest Moon St.
Photo 2: Installing a replacement fire hydrant on Harvest Moon St.
Photo 3: Constructing a tie-in on Lark Ellen Ave to connect the new pipeline to the water system.