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SANTA ANA: Several contractors already have lodged claims in the Orange County Superior Court declaring water furnished by the Southern County water districts is in fact corroding piping, which causes leaking which need hundreds of thousands of dollars in copper repiping procedures and installations.

Shapell Industries reported a complaint November 2, claiming drinking water provided by by Moulton Niguel Water District to Shapell households located in at least two Laguna Niguel areas; San Joaquin Hills and Hillcrest were treated with chloramine, a disinfectant which Shapell claimed is known to cause pinhole leaks in the pipes of homeowners throughout the area.

The objection states Shapell “should have to refurbish and swap out plumbing for at least 300 residences” in those local communities. The claim couldn’t designate the quantity of homes which actually have leaking. The construtor is attempting to get greater than $6 million in loss, stating defective products, recklessness, private nuisance and breach of warranty.

MNWD facilitates services to 55,000 homes and companies in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and parts of Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.

“The only customers protesting and complaining in relation to these kinds of galvanized pipe leaks reside in buildings constructed by Shapell within these two zones,” MNWD general manager Bob Gumerman said with a email. “If our water is cause for blame, the issue would have been widespread.”

Gumerman accentuated that the district’s water supply meets or is much greater than state and federal water-quality guidelines which is suitable for bathing and other purposes. He said Shapell has not supplied data on how MNWD’s water supply has contributed to pinhole water leaks in residences. Numerous messages to the legal professionals representing Shapell were not returned.

Gumerman said Moulton Niguel obtains its water through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which imports it from the Colorado River and the State Water Project, a system of recollection plants, tanks and lakes. Reported by its website, MWD incorporates chloramine, a mix of chlorine and ammonia, within the water treatment process to kill micro organisms in standard water.

MWD also offers water for the Santa Margarita Water District, which usually services the rest of Mission Viejo along with Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch along with the Talega local community in San Clemente. MWD and SMWD were called as defendants in a grievance recorded Feb. 9 by Lennar Homes in regards to pin-hole water leaks in older pipes in the Verano area of Talega.

Lennar’s claim claims water leaks in galvanized piping in 62 Verano models “are a principal and/or additional reaction to corrosive, excessive and/orimproperly treated water” delivered by the districts. Lennar is looking for the districts to become held responsible for the leaking as well as any fees, destruction or settlements incurred by Lennar attributable to the water leaks.

Newmeyer & Dillion legal representative Carol Zaist, which may be assisting Lennar, said the builder is unable to discuss impending litigation.

Newmeyer & Dillion also handles homebuilder Standard Pacific, which in a claim brought to the district in February found 74 residences in Ladera Ranch and Talega where residence owners have made note of pinhole leaking in pipes and accompanying damage to property. The complaint was originally turned down by SMWD officials, in spite of this current investigation may overturn this preliminary assessment.

SMWD spokeswoman Michele Miller believed the district need not change or change the water delivered by MWD, even mentioning SMWD water meets or is much greater than domestic water quality conditions. Concerning the impact of drinking water treatment methods, “the district believes there isn’t any data to suggest how the region’s water causes a corrosive effect on galvanized pipes.”

Marc Edwards is a Virginia Tech civil and environmental engineering professor and a nationwide well recognized consultant on water pipe corrosion. A component of his efforts are to report the cause of pipe deficiencies and approaches to protect against them. He stated that a range of legal actions are developing in California and he is expecting to be hired as a possible expert witness.

“We’ve completed most certainly more than a million dollars of examination during the last eight years,” Edwards explained. “We’ve now identified that water chemistry and corrosive water are vital contributors of pinhole leaks.

“We realize that additional variables are frequently connected, including unnecessary velocity in pipes and poor installation procedures, and for that reason just about every scenario normally takes remarkably considerable forensic evaluation in an attempt to diagnose the potential leading cause and treatment,” he included.

Edwards said the same specifications implemented to render drinking water safer is perhaps resulting in pinhole pipe leaks. Although disinfectants are necessary, that much in some waters might well be corrosive. He said examination on chloramine indicates it on its own doesn’t necessarily eat rust or corrosion in water lines, nevertheless “it is quite possible, even probable, that chloramine plus other causes in the water are often extremely corrosive.”

Though the District could have excellent intentions, alterations in order to satisfy specifications is perhaps creating unintentional consequences, Edwards stated.

“There’s definitely so much we do acknowledge,” he stated. “We now have completely validated that water is often a cause; not the only cause, but a contributing factor. But there is however a lot we still are not aware of.”