The 800-million gallon Silver Lake Reservoir might be left high and dry for 18 months to allow for the proposed installation of a new water line. The Department of Water and Power had initially planned to dig a nearly mile-long tunnel under Redesdale Avenue west of the reservoir and tear up the small park – dubbed the Grassy Knoll – by the Silver Lake Recreation Center to install a new water pipeline and regulator station. The pipeline is part of a larger project to bypass and take the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs out of commission in order to meet more stringent federal water guidelines.
But after facing intense neighborhood criticism over noise, dust and traffic detours, DWP engineers looked at alternatives that would be less disruptive to residents and motorists. The result is a proposal now under study that would route a 66-inch wide pipeline across the bed of the reservoir and connect it to an existing pipe that runs through the dam at the south end of the reservoir, said Glenn Singley, Director of Water Engineering and Technical Services.
“This would greatly reduce the impact to the community from a traffic stand point and a construction standpoint,” Singley said.
The trade off, however, is that residents surrounding the reservoir would be looking at an “empty hole” for about 18 months, said Silver Lake Neighborhood Council member Michael Masterson, who mentioned the new DWP proposal during Wednesday night’s meeting. “If it minimizes dust, construction, tearing up streets – I think it’s worth it,” said Masterson, who sits on a council committee focused on the reservoirs.
No final decision has been made about rerouting the pipeline on to the bed of the reservoir and draining the water, however. Singley said engineers are still finalizing the proposal, which needed to be cleared with county healthy officials, who wanted assurances that the drinking water in the pipe would not be contaminated with water once the reservoir is refilled. Under one scenario, water from the Silver Lake Reservoir would be filtered and piped into the adjoining Ivanhoe Reservoir before being distributed into the city water system.
If the DWP goes ahead with the new proposal, the job of draining the reservoir and installing the pipe would not begin for at least another year, Singley said. More details of the project would be provided at upcoming community meetings, he said.