The new pipes could help keep the water flowing after a big one hits.
LADWP is replacing critical areas along its 7,000 miles of water pipes in Los Angeles with earthquake resilient pipes to ensure water is still flowing after the shaking stops.
"We live in earthquake country. The Northridge earthquake is another reminder for us to make sure that we develop an infrastructure that is resilient where we can bounce back and provide reliable water supplies to our customers after a large earthquake event," said Alvin Bautista of LADWP.
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LADWP joined Japan's earthquake resilient pipe network in 2013, making L.A. the United States' first public utility system to use the earthquake resilient pipe. It involves a stronger steel pipe coating and a joint that doesn't crack during shaking.
"Our regular pipe does not have this type of freedom of movement, so the material that we use has it, so it will allow for a certain amount of expansion and contraction, it also gives it a degree of freedom where it can rotate along the axis there so that it doesn't break with excessive movement underground," said Bautista.
LADWP's long-term replacement plan will take years to complete; targeted locations in critical earthquake hazard zones were first to receive the earthquake resilient pipe.
"Areas where we need reliable water supply such as hospitals, command and control centers, shelters, areas where people will gather after a large earthquake event, those areas need to be reliable with the water supply, that's our focus," said Bautista.
Drivers around L.A. will notice construction zones where crews are installing the earthquake resilient pipe. After the replacement is done and the traffic inconvenience is over, L.A. will have the sturdiest water pipes in America.
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