San Francisco — Officials from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) announced that crews have brought the San Andreas Pipeline No. 3 into full service as part of the Peninsula Pipelines Seismic Upgrade Project. Bringing the San Andreas Pipeline No. 3 into service enables the SFPUC to begin a more permanent repair of the San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 where a rupture on the line occurred on July 27, 2015 in San Mateo County.

“Over a million people on the Peninsula depend on these water pipelines for drinking water and firefighting protection,” said Steve Ritchie, SFPUC’s Assistant General Manager for Water. “When the San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 ruptured at the end of July, it was extremely difficult for us to ensure full water service to our customers because its sister pipeline – Pipeline No. 3 – was out of service undergoing a major upgrade. Now that we have that pipe back, we can begin work on the area where the break occurred.”

The $42 million Peninsula Pipelines Seismic Upgrade Project (PPSU) has replaced and strengthened vulnerable sections of these three pipelines at six different locations on the Peninsula: in the cities of Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno, and Millbrae. With all the major pipeline work done, the project is currently over 80 percent complete.

“We are truly in a race against time to complete these important upgrades before a major earthquake strikes the Bay Area,” said Dan Wade, Director of the Water System Improvement Program. “Totaling 83 projects, the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program is about 90 percent complete as a whole.”

San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 pipe break

On July 27, 2015 at 9:30 p.m., a section of the San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 (parallel to San Andreas Pipeline No. 3) broke at Junipero Serra Park in San Mateo County. The cause of the break was attributed to the age of the pipe segment, which was constructed in the 1920s. Repairing the break while still being able to provide water to our customers in San Bruno and the North Coast County Water District was difficult because San Andreas Pipeline No. 3 was out of service for the PPSU project. Due to the support and coordination with those water agencies and cooperation from Westborough Water District and Daly City, there was no interruption in water service to customers.

Work on San Andreas Pipeline No. 3 was completed at the end of August, and SFPUC crews brought the pipe back into full service on Sept. 9, 2015. With a strengthened pipeline in service, the SFPUC will now bring the San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 out of service completely to perform permanent repairs on the pipeline break.

Work on the San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 repairs could begin as early as October 2015. The repair work could last 2-3 months depending on weather and the extent of repairs needed.

Project background

The PPSU Project is part of the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP). The program’s 83 projects are designed to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade portions of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. The overall program is 90 percent complete. The PPSU is one of two remaining WSIP projects active on the Peninsula out of the 19 Peninsula projects initiated at the onset of the WSIP in 2003.  The total cost of the WSIP Peninsula projects are more than $800 million.