Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) crews continue to repair two sewer pipes that broke Saturday night, releasing a significant amount of wastewater into the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel near Cook Street in Palm Desert.
Wastewater flows are currently being diverted through other pipes to the wastewater reclamation plant on Cook Street so that service to nearby homes and businesses will not be affected during the emergency repairs.
At the main diversion site, near the intersection of Portola Avenue and Hovley Lane East, one lane is closed in all directions. Motorists are encouraged to stay away from the intersection as traffic delays are expected. The lane closures are expected to be in place for approximately two weeks while repairs are being completed.
Water overflowing from a pond at a nearby business caused an earthen area to erode and create a hole approximately 25-feet deep and 50-feet wide, exposing the two sewer pipes and causing them to break. The pipes are 24 inches and 33 inches wide.
The spill was contained to a small portion of the channel. While trespassing in the channel is always prohibited, cones and signage have been placed in the area to warm people to stay out for safety reasons.
CVWD crews responded immediately after learning of the spill and worked throughout the night to stop it. Now that the spill has been stopped, efforts are focused on replacing the pipes and repairing the channel. CVWD has hired Jones Bros. Construction and staff will continue to work 24-hours a day to ensure repairs are completed in a timely manner.
CVWD provides sewer service to approximately 94,000 homes and businesses. The sewer system includes approximately 1,129 miles of pipeline carrying flow to five wastewater reclamation plants capable of treating up to 33.5 million gallons daily.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 109,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.
Photo information: A lake overflowed and eroded a large area of the stormwater channel, exposing two sewer pipes and an irrigation pipe and causing them all to break. Crews are now working to replace the pipes and repair the channel. (View larger image)