Penitencia Force Main Seismic Retrofit Project Completion Announced

July 13, 2018 Last Updated: July 13, 2018

Completion of the Penitencia Force Main Seismic Retrofit Project was announced at the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors meeting on July 10.

The newly installed pipeline is located within a residential neighborhood and adjacent to an existing school, between Grossmont Drive and Vista Del Mar in San Jose, California, near the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant.

During the meeting, the pipeline project team announced a successful completion of the installation of the new pipelines.

“This meeting is the culmination of how we started by planning, design, and construction. And we finished a very successful project, a very complex project,” said Emmanuel Aryee, engineering unit manager for the project.

The objective of this project was to seismically retrofit the pipelines and related infrastructure to accommodate the possibility of seismic activity from both landslide creep and earthquakes.

The new pipeline was designed by and shipped from Kubota Corporation, a Japanese manufacturing company. These pipes are called ERDIP S-type pipes, and can withstand earthquakes due to the pipe’s ability to rotate and twist under stress.

As such, the pipes are capable of withstanding the seismic activity that frequently exist in the area. The Penitencia pipeline project team said that the new pipelines could benefit the neighborhood.

“There’s several ways that it’s going to help the community. One of them is that we supply water to the retailers who supply water to the residents. The other aspect is that, in that area, there is a landslide … because of the movement of the soil it caused a crack in the pipe, and the school was flooded, and some of the houses were also flooded,” explained Aryee.

These new pipes are expected to reduce the flooding and pipe bursting risks.

Additionally, the Penitencia pipeline project also reported that the installation of the pipes include earthquake monitoring features.

However, the pipeline installation faced a few challenges along the way. Because the pipeline installation occurred in a residential neighborhood, the Penitencia pipeline project team had to be aware of the local residents. The project team held six neighborhood meetings to receive input from the residents.

Aryee told The Epoch Times that on-site workers would frequently sweep up dust and monitor noise levels.

Additionally, the area where the pipeline was installed is also a nesting ground for red-tail hawks. This posed as a challenge because the construction team had to finish before nesting season, which started in February.

Due to the time constraints the installation used a reverse installation sequence, meaning the construction started from the top of the hill and moved to the bottom. This is the opposite of typical pipeline installation processes.

Despite the challenges, the Penitencia Force Main Seismic Retrofit Project was successful in installing the new pipeline.

“This meeting, today, was the culmination of the end of a very successful project using innovation which has never been used before,” said Aryee.