New water pipes on Hayward fault could survive major earthquake, last through 2140

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- If a 7.0 earthquake materialized on the Hayward fault the USGS forecasts that there would be hundreds of water main breaks in the East Bay disrupting service for six weeks to six months. So East Bay Municipal Utility District is doing some serious earthquake prep.

They are replacing miles of 1927 cast iron water pipes with newly engineered pipes that have joints that can expand and contract up to three inches and rotate.

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If there is a major earthquake, the pipes should be able to flex and keep the water flowing. That's important to firefighters and residents.

Now through October, they are working on pipes along Northampton Avenue up in the Berkeley hills. The street runs directly above the Hayward fault.

In a deep trench, the EBMUD crew inserted the new pipe that is expected to last for 120 years-- or through 2140.

In the next two years, EBMUD is ramping up to replace 20 miles per year of pipe in the East Bay.

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The money for the project is coming from the 6.5-percent rate hike that just went into effect in July, with a second rate hike of 6.2-percent coming next summer.

That money is earmarked to modernize the system.

Residents said they were willing to endure the ripped up roadways to provide assurance that water would keep flowing after a major quake.

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