Construction Begins on Techite Pipeline Replacement Project in Big Trees Village

As of June 1, 2020, the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) has begun construction on the replacement of a nearly 8,000-foot section of 14-inch-diameter water transmission pipeline along Meko Drive near Dorrington, in Big Trees Village. The project contract was awarded to K.W. Emerson, Inc. for $1.9 million, which will come from CCWD’s Capital Renovation and Replacement Fund. See the preliminary project schedule here (this is subject to change).

Construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and residents who live in the area will experience detours and traffic control over the next six months. Homeowners who live along the pipeline alignment will have trenches cut through their driveways, and some residents will experience water outages that last no more than 8 hours. All driveway trenches will be compacted and repaved before winter.

I’m very pleased to see this new pipeline being installed after many years of breaks and water service interruptions,” said CCWD Board President and Division 3 Director, Bertha Underhill. “The Big Trees Village community will greatly benefit from the increased reliability this new pipeline will provide for many years to come. The prudent investment of ratepayer dollars into new and improved infrastructure is critically important on the Upper Highway 4 Corridor and throughout the entire county.”

The pipeline being replaced was built in the 1970s and is constructed of a material called Techite, which is a thin-walled fiberglass composite that is fragile and susceptible to line breaks. When these line breaks do occur, they are very difficult for CCWD field crews to repair, since the fiberglass tends to crack when worked on. Compounding this problem is the way the pipeline was originally installed. Instead of backfilling the trench with sand and base rock, the original contractor backfilled with native soil filled with rocks. Due to the defective material and construction practices at the time, the pipeline has routinely failed, which caused the District to make emergency repairs and issue boil water advisories to up to 150 customers in the area.

The new pipe is a 10-inch ductile iron product that is expected to last at least 75 years. The new stretch will include 80 water services, seven fire hydrants, four air valves, and one pressure reducing station. The pipeline alignment starts near the intersection of Meko Drive and Highway 4 and continues to Blackfoot Circle. About 4,100 linear feet of the new, 10-inch diameter pipeline will be constructed by digging a trench parallel to the existing pipeline. The remaining 2,800 linear feet will be installed by removing and replacing the existing Techite pipeline in the same trench. This section will require temporary, above-ground bypass piping that will be used to maintain continuous water service to customers that are within that portion of pipeline.

Regular construction updates will be posted at www.ccwd.org. For more information, contact the Customer Service Department at (209) 754-3543 or customerservice@ccwd.org.

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