The Long Beach Water Department has invested approximately $100 million since 1998 to upgrade the City’s older, less reliable cast-iron water infrastructure, which is more susceptible to frequent, costlier breaks. The Water Department has replaced as much as 107,000 linear feet per year of the older cast iron pipeline, replacing it with a newer, more reliable ductile iron pipe material.
During the 1990s, it was common to have well over 100 main breaks occur each year in Long Beach. The success of the main replacement program has caused these numbers to drop dramatically, including an all-time low of 22 main breaks in 2012.
Some relevant facts and figures:
The Water Department has likewise made a large investment in improving the city's sewer infrastructure. Sewer inspections and mandatory cleaning activities have been significantly expanded throughout the city. The department has also begun utilizing the deployment of "smart" sewer manhole covers, which are able to detect a sewer overflow before it happens. These actions, along with continued community outreach, have significantly brought down the annual number of serious sewer overflows.
The graph on the right shows the number of annual category one sewer overflows over the past five years.