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Home Builder has filed a complaint to fight Water District alleging water provided by the district produces leaks throughout water pipes.

SANTA ANA: Two additional neighborhood developers have recorded grievances with Orange County Superior Court declaring the water furnished by two Southern County water districts is in fact corroding piping, which causes leaks which require hundreds of thousands of dollars of copper repiping repair and installations.

Shapell Industries filed their grievance Nov 2, claiming standard water provided through the Moulton Niguel Water District for Shapell households within several Laguna Niguel subdivisions; San Joaquin Hills along with Hillcrest were treated with chloramine, the disinfectant which Shapell believed is known to cause pinhole leaks in the pipes of homeowners throughout the area.

The claim states Shapell “will need to refurbish and swap out plumbing for nearly 400 residences” in those communities. The claim may not identify what percentage of family homes which actually have leaking. The developer is in search of greater than $7 million in damages, voicing product liability, negligence, private nuisance and infringement of warranty.

MNWD facilitates service to 50,000 households and corporations in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and areas of Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.

“The only home owners protesting and complaining with reference to a lot of these galvanized pipe leaks are in houses developed by Shapell in these few places,” MNWD general manager Bob Gumerman said in his e-mail. “If the water is cause for blame, the problem would definitely be regularly occurring.”

Gumerman highlighted the district’s water hits or surpasses federal and state water-quality guidelines which is safe for bathing or other usages. He stated Shapell has not yet introduced data about how MNWD’s water has caused pinhole water leaks in people’s homes. Multiple messages to the lawyers representing Shapell weren’t returned.

Gumerman mentioned Moulton Niguel obtains its water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which imports it out of the Colorado River as well as the State Water Project, a system of storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes. Based on its blog, MWD may make use of chloramine, a mix of chlorine and ammonia, in the water treatment operation to control microorganisms in water.

MWD also delivers water to the Santa Margarita Water District, which services the remainder of Mission Viejo in addition to Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch and the Talega neighborhood in San Clemente. MWD and SMWD were identified as as defendants within a complaint lodged Feb. 9 by Lennar Homes in regard to pin hole pipe leaks in aged pipes in the Verano community of Talega.

Lennar’s issue states water leaks in galvanized pipes in 59 Verano models “are a primary and/or additional consequence of harsh, overly aggressive and inappropriately treated water” delivered by the districts. Lennar would like the districts to be held answerable for the leaks and for any fees, damages or pay outs suffered by Lennar as a consequence of the pipe leaks.

Newmeyer & Dillion lawyer Carol Zaist, which may be representing Lennar, said the builder will not discuss unresolved legal matters.

Newmeyer & Dillion also handles home builder Standard Pacific, which lodged a claim sent to the district in March discovered 74 houses in Ladera Ranch and Talega where residents have reported pinhole leaks in piping and related property damage. The declaration was primarily turned down by SMWD representatives, yet still most recent scientific studies may overturn this original consideration.

SMWD spokeswoman Michele Miller reported the district need not adjust or modify the water which is available from MWD, additionally noting SMWD water satisfies or surpasses federal water quality rules. Concerning negative effects of drinking water treatments, “the district believes there isn’t data to indicate that the particular region’s water is bringing about a corrosive effect on galvanized water pipes.”

Marc Edwards is known as a Virginia Tech civil and ecological engineering professor as well as a nationwide well recognized specialist on pipe corrosion. A part of his work is to examine the cause of pipe deficiencies and how to prevent them. He stated that more than a few legal actions are appearing in California in which he can possibly expect to become hired as a possible expert witness.

“We’ve successfully done in all likelihood more than a million dollars of investigation throughout the last seven years,” Edwards explained. “Today we have confirmed that water chemistry and harsh water are major contributors of pinhole leaks.

“We know that other causes are often connected, such as unnecessary velocity in water pipes and sub standard installation methods, consequently just about every lawsuit would need seriously detailed forensic analysis in an attempt to diagnose the potential contributing factor and treatment,” he included.

Edwards said similar standards implemented to render drinking water safer could possibly be increasing pinhole pipe leaks. Even as disinfectants are needed, that much in most waters could possibly be corrosive. He explained preliminary research on chloramine indicates it on its own does not necessarily create pinhole leaks in water pipes, nevertheless “it is possible, even probable, that chloramine plus other elements within the water can be extremely corrosive.”

Although they could have good intentions, adjustments in order to meet specifications could be creating unintended repercussions, Edwards acknowledged.

“There’s certainly very much that we acknowledge,” he said. “We have completely proven that this type of water is often a cause; not the main cause, but an underlying reason. But there is quite a lot many of us still can’t predict.”