“So, we are in a drought,” ranted Lisa Hudson Barth as she snapped photos of water flowing down Mount Acadia Boulevard in Clairemont on April 10. “And the mayor requested that we cut our water by 25 percent, but it’s okay for the city to waste our water!”
Next to the blue barrel that had water overflowing from a cutaway section, a sign read: “Public works water project water pipeline flushing in progress per state of CA Department of Health requirements.”
“[P]eople think that [the water overflowing is] a mistake, they think that water is running and nobody knows,” said Monica Muñoz from the City of San Diego Public Works Department. “So that’s why we put the signs up. That’s a requirement by the State of California that we disinfect; it’s a disinfection process that actually occurs putting chlorinated water through the [new] pipe to disinfect it.”
“This [flushing] has been going on every day this week for several hours,” Barth updated on her Facebook. “How hard would it be to collect the water and use it for our parks, what a waste,” she subsequently inquired.
According to the "Water & Sewer Projects" page on the city's website, “The Public Utilities Department estimated in 2014 a cost of about $200 to capture and transport 4,000 gallons (tank truck) of flushed water. This $200 would save only $22.28 worth of water at the City’s commercial/industrial retail rate (5.35 HCF at $4.17 / HCF). It is estimated that for an average flushing event, 18 truckloads would be required to capture the flushed water. This would be at a cost of $3,600 for the capture of $400 worth of water.”
Muñoz said she didn’t know exactly how long the “flushing signs” have been posted. And she said, “We don’t keep track of the number of people who call in because there are too many different departments that receive calls from the disinfecting pipelines.”