The Cambrian

Cambria CSD repairs large leak amid water loss

The Cambria Community Services District has repaired seven leaks that were causing a loss of water.
The Cambria Community Services District has repaired seven leaks that were causing a loss of water.

The leak that appears to have caused the majority of Cambria’s water loss has been repaired, the community services general manager said Monday.

“The Water Department has repaired a total of seven leaks during the course of May, the largest being the Van Gordon House leak,” Jerry Gruber wrote in an email.

Gruber said in an email May 31 that the district had found “a substantial leak adjacent to (the district’s) old van Gordon Creek House” that amounted to about 100 gallons per minute.

The district staff has fixed that leak in the one-inch line, he said, along with six others, including one on Burton Drive.

“I believe we solved the majority of our problems with the repair of the Van Gordon House leak,” he said.

Gruber said water loss — the difference between total production and total influent — spiked during May at more than 4.6 million gallons (23.4 percent), compared with slightly more than 1 million gallons (5.7 percent) the previous month. This large discrepancy, he wrote, means “we can assume the leak at the Van Gordon House started in May.”

Gruber had previously suggested that a large leak might be present near Centrally Grown off Highway 1, but testing for such a leak would be costly, he said.

“Staff has a contractor standing by that has the necessary sonic equipment to detect leaks on the San Simeon Pipeline,” he said June 1. With the cost of such testing pegged at $41,000, however, he decided to hold off for now. But, he added in an email June 6, “As we continue to evaluate the data we will continue to keep all options on the table until staff feels that the matter has been addressed and resolved.”

Gruber has said that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the water use can be attributed to irrigation, and CCSD board President Amanda Rice said last week that some 60,000 gallons of the water during one period was used for Fire Department exercises.

Still, concerns over water discrepancies are not new. In September, Cambria resident Elizabeth Bettenhausen asked the district more than 14 million gallons in unaccounted for water.

Bettenhausen, who has been tracking water use in Cambria since 2013, presented a table Tuesday that indicated a 40.87 percent discrepancy between water produced and billed in March and April, up from 13.33 percent in January and February.

When asked about Bettenhausen’s table Tuesday, Gruber said he had no comment at this time.

Meanwhile, he reported the following gaps between production and influent for the first few days of June:

▪  June 1: 575,000 gallons of production, 443,000 gallons of influent for a difference of 132,000 gallons (22.9 percent).

▪  June 2: 608,000 gallons of production, 463,000 gallons of influent for a difference of 145,000 gallons (23.8 percent).

▪  June 3: 670,000 gallons of production, 507,000 gallons of influent for a difference of 163,000 gallons (24.3 percent).

▪  June 4: 745,000 gallons of production, 492,000 gallons of influent for a difference of 253,000 gallons (33.9 percent). According to Gruber, “This could have jumped up based on when the Effluent Pumps ran during the night.”

Gruber said the industry standard for gaps between production and influent is 10 percent.

“Since we had such a wet winter ,we are experiencing what other water agencies are experiencing leaks,” he said. “The wet ground, settling and the separation of pipes has contributed to at least seven repairs being made. Staff will continue will continue to work diligently to locate and repair any leaks as soon as they are discovered.”