Time for Sil­ver Lake to dis­ap­pear

Land­mark will be tem­po­rar­ily drained as part of DWP pro­ject to build pipeline be­neath it

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - HAI­LEY BRAN­SON- POTTS hai­ley. bran­son @ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ hai­ley­bran­son

The ven­er­a­ble old reser­voir will be empty for about a year while the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and Power builds a new pipeline be­neath it.

The Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir is about to go dry.

The reser­voir will be tem­po­rar­ily drained this sum­mer as part of a Los An­ge­les Depart­ment of Wa­ter and Power pro­ject to build a new wa­ter pipeline be­neath it.

Af­ter more than a cen­tury of ser­vice, the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir — the scenic cen­ter­piece of the hilly neigh­bor­hood — was dis­con­nected in De­cem­ber 2013 from the city’s drink­ing­wa­ter sys­tem as part of a fed­eral man­date to phase out open- air drink­ing- wa­ter reser­voirs.

The lost drink­ing- wa­ter stor­age is be­ing re­placed by a new un­der­ground reser­voir near Grif­fith Park called Head­works.

The DWP plans to build a pipeline be­neath the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir that will re­place the old by­pass line. The line will bring wa­ter from Head­works and by­pass the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir, said Su­san Rowghani, DWP di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing for wa­ter sys­tems. When will the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir be drained?

Crews will be­gin drain­ing it to­ward the end of June or be­gin­ning of July, Rowghani said. It will take sev­eral weeks for the reser­voir to empty and be dry enough to start con­struc­tion on the new pipeline. How long will it be empty?

About a year. Why is this hap­pen­ing?

The open- air reser­voir no longer meets fed­eral stan­dards for stor­ing drink­ing wa­ter.

The Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir, and the smaller Ivan­hoe Reser­voir next to it, have long stored drink­ing wa­ter from the Los An­ge­les Aqueduct, the Metropoli­tan Wa­ter Dis­trict of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and ground­wa­ter sources. But the treated wa­ter was ex­posed to con­tam­i­na­tion from sur­face runoff, pol­lu­tion from an­i­mals and peo­ple, and a sun­light- trig­gered re­ac­tion that cre­ated a car­cino­gen.

The new 66- inch steel trunk line will run 3,000 feet along the bot­tom of the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir, re­plac­ing an out­dated older pipe, Rowghani said.

The DWP an­tic­i­pates the Ivan­hoe Reser­voir be­ing per­ma­nently re­moved from the city’s drink­ing- wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem later this year. Where will all that wa­ter go?

“The pre­cious­ness of wa­ter is high­lighted by the drought,” Rowghani said. Por­ta­ble units will treat the wa­ter at the Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir and put it back into the city’s drink­ing­wa­ter sys­tem.

There are about 400 mil­lion gal­lons of wa­ter in the reser­voir, Rowghani said. Though at full ca­pac­ity it holds nearly 800 mil­lion gal­lons, the depart­ment has not been re­fill­ing wa­ter lost to eva­po­ra­tion in re­cent months. Will the walk­ing path around the reser voir re­main open dur­ing con­struc­tion?

The pop­u­lar 2.2- mile path will re­main open. Where will all the con­struc­tion equip­ment go?

The empty reser­voir will be used as a stag­ing area while the pipeline is be­ing built, ac­cord­ing to the DWP. Trucks will be parked in the reser­voir, and con­struc­tion equip­ment will be stored there to keep city streets clear and re­duce truck trips, Rowghani said. Will the reser voir be re­filled?

The reser­voir will be re­filled with non­potable wa­ter, the DWP says. The depart­ment says it is meet­ing with com­mu­nity groups and res­i­dents to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the area sur­round­ing the reser­voirs. The DWP will re­tain ju­ris­dic­tion of them be­cause there will still be func­tion­ing dams on site. When was the last time the reser voir was drained?

The Sil­ver Lake and Ivan­hoe reser­voirs were drained in 2008 be­cause the wa­ter was con­tam­i­nated with bro­mate, a car­cino­gen that formed when sun­light mixed with chlo­rine and nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring bro­mides.

The DWP dumped hun­dreds of thou­sands of f loat­ing black poly­eth­yl­ene balls into the Ivan­hoe Reser­voir to pro­tect the wa­ter from the sun­light- trig­gered re­ac­tion. ( The Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir did not get shade balls af­ter it was re­filled be­cause its re­plen­ished wa­ter sup­ply was not chlo­ri­nated un­til af­ter it left the basin.)

The drained Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir re­vealed hun­dreds of golf balls, cloth­ing and a gold wed­ding ring. As will be the case this sum­mer, the drain­ing of the reser­voirs in 2008 came amid a drought.

Anne Cu­sack Los An­ge­les Times

AF­TER MORE than a cen­tury of ser­vice, the scenic Sil­ver Lake Reser­voir was dis­con­nected in De­cem­ber 2013 from Los An­ge­les’ drink­ing- wa­ter sys­tem.

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