Leaks shut down Nacimiento Pipeline

August 15, 2014

pipelinesSan Luis Obispo County’s $176 million pipeline project is delivering no water to participating cities and communities and may not resume operation for weeks. [Tribune]

The Nacimiento Pipeline, which delivers water to Atascadero, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and parts of Templeton, has been shut down for several weeks due to multiple leaks. The five participating cities have not received any water from the pipeline since June, in which they only acquired a fraction of their month’s supply.

During the closure, communities lose their monthly water allotments for good. They cannot collect the missing supply when the pipeline reopens.

Water officials with the participating cities say the pipeline shutdown does not signify a crisis because they have other sources of supply.

But, Nacimiento Lake represents significant portions of the various communities’ supplies. They must now rely on reservoir water and, in some cases, groundwater.

County officials began investigating Nacimiento Pipeline problems in late July expecting to find one leak. They have since found at least five leaks and have spent $134,000 on an emergency contract for the investigation.

The investigation into the leaks is expected to conclude in the next few weeks. County officials hope to temporarily patch the leaks and restore the pipeline services by the end of summer while working on a permanent fix.

The pipeline project, on which construction concluded in 2010, was touted as the solution to the various communities’ water needs. However, since the project began operating, water levels have dropped significantly at Lake Nacimiento, and it is unclear whether the pipeline will remain a reliable source of water.

Participating agencies must still pay off millions of dollars of debt they owe for the pipeline over the next few decades.

Former county public works director Paavo Ogren, who spearheaded the project, left his position with the county last month to become general manager of the troubled Oceano Community Services District.


6 Comments

  1. NorthCountyGuy says:

    The Naci pipeline is nothing but a boondoggle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. wineguyjc says:

    Say it isn’t so, a project that Pavlo pushed and manipulated the public into has problems. Oh my. Lets see, the Naci pipeline, the Los Osos sewer project, his marriage, his affair, the issues with the County gov’t center all seem to end screwed up. Onlly the best and the brightest get to work for local government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  3. Pelican1 says:

    Low bid = multiple deaths, leaks, and no warranty. Your tax dollars at work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  4. individual says:

    Is Paavo Finnish for rat leaving a ”leaky” ship?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  5. HarryMalone says:

    I find it very odd that all mega million government funded projects such as pipelines, roads, etc seem to come with no WARRANTIES or GUARANTEES of any substance from the contractors.

    Am I reading correctly they spent $134,000 so far just to FIND the leaks!

    And even odder, in that communities spent millions for the pipeline and negotiated contracts for water they are now not getting and CANNOT collect the missing supply when the pipeline reopens!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  6. Jorge Estrada says:

    Thankfully Santa Margarita is not connected to any imported water. That expense for 500 connections would be ridiculous when there is plenty of local water (best watershed in SLO County) and their workhorse well is less that 60 feet deep. Alternative water would be as easy as a deeper well in another location. Not only does imported water suck on your pockets, it also leaks through the created holes in your pockets.

    Land values in Santa Margarita will float to the top. All will soon realize the most valuable local resource, water, a blessing to those who own the land above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

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