Power Surge Knocks Out Two Pumps in Wells at Reservoir

Problems at Reservoir

As an example of how fragile South Pasadena’s aging infrastructure has become, a power surge at the Wilson reservoir, which feeds about 90 percent of water into the city, affected two pumps inside the wells as a result of major damage, say city officials.
Two of the wells, located in San Gabriel, were not functioning Wednesday due to a lack of power to the pumps, but one was back in operation on Thursday, according to South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said city officials were looking into the cause, but he was relieved that one well was back online. “This allowed us to turn off the tap from MWD since we’re able to have enough water to serve our residents with two wells online, one in San Gabriel and the other in San Marino,” explained Gonzalez.
He said the power failure initially affected two wells, in which one needed new wiring. “The pump to the other well may have been compromised and will need to be tested,” he said.
In an emergency, when the city can’t use its own water, the city manager said the backup plan is to turn on the valve and receive water from Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles at a much higher rate than the city is accustomed to paying.
South Pasadena will spend about $900 per acre-foot using MWD water, explained Gonzalez. “Typically, if we’re using the water we have rights to, it costs about $200 to $300 per acre-foot to produce it,” Gonzalez said. “That includes staff, electricity and equipment costs.  On the wholesale market, you’re looking between $600 to $700 per acre-foot.”
When buying water from MWD, Gonzalez stressed, “Basically, you’re at their mercy,” he said. “You have to buy it at the rate they’re selling it.”
He said the power failure is another reminder that residents must conserve water, especially when MWD rates are much higher.
The power surge took place at about 1 a.m. last Wednesday, explained Gonzalez. “When you lose power and it comes back on, sometimes it comes on too fast and electrical components can’t take the surge,” he said, explaining the outage.
Meanwhile, while currently operating, Wilson reservoir is under construction and expects to be operating later this year.

  • : Problems at Reservoir
  • : By Bill Glazier Review Editor
      • Pumps2