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Maintenance on water main clears out Bonita Avenue

The installation of a 35-foot pipeline at Bonita and College Avenue drew a lot of attention Tuesday morning after Golden State Water employees opened up a water main to flush the new line, sending thousands of gallons of water into the gutters and down Village streets.

“Somebody said there was a drought,” said one passerby to the workers on site. “Didn’t you hear?”

The pipeline construction began several months ago along College Avenue with Golden State Water replacing outdated steel pipes from the ‘40s and ‘50s that were reportedly leaking. Now in its place are new ductile iron pipes that will mainly serve the Claremont colleges. Chlorine pills are placed in the pipes and left to sanitize overnight, requiring the workers to address the problem the following day.

“There are high chlorinate levels from sanitizing the pipes and we need to flush it out,” said one Golden State Water employee. “We take samples as the water flows to test the levels and when it runs clear, we’ll stop.”

After about 90 minutes, the new pipeline was flushed and they did stop but not before sending roughly 250-300 gallons of water per minute down Bonita Avenue and onto Harvard, affecting local businesses and parking for their clientele.

“My customers are parking on the south side with no real way to get in,” said Ray Riojas, owner of Rio de Ojas. “There was no warning to businesses in the area that they were planning on doing this.”

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, water would be a welcomed sight in any town but when it’s rushing down the gutter and into a storm drain, people begin to ask questions.

“Who’s paying for this?” said another passerby.

“It’s a water loss issue,” explained the Golden State Water employee. “It’s part of the PUC rate case.”
 
—Angela Bailey
news@claremont-courier

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