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SANTA ANA: Two contractors have manually filed claims with Orange County Superior Court proclaiming water provided by the Southern County water districts can be corroding plumbing, generating leaking which require thousands of dollars for copper repiping repair and installs.

Shapell Industries submitted a grievance November 2, claiming drinking water supplied through the Moulton Niguel Water District for Shapell residences located in two Laguna Niguel developments; San Joaquin Hills as well as Hillcrest were treated with chloramine, a disinfectant that Shapell alleged is known to cause pinhole leaks in the pipes of homeowners throughout the area.

The claim states Shapell “should be forced to refurbish and change out plumbing for nearly 600 households” in those communities. The protest won’t state what number of homes that actually have leaking. The builder is going after upwards of $5 million in monetary damages, citing product liability, recklessness, private nuisance and abuse of warranty.

MNWD supports services to 60,000 households and businesses in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and portions of Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.

“The only people protesting and complaining concerning a lot of these water leaks are living in houses manufactured by Shapell within these two districts,” MNWD general manager Bob Gumerman said with a e-mail. “If water is to blame, the issue would definitely be frequent.”

Gumerman pointed out the district’s water hits or is much greater than federal and state water-quality standards and it is suitable for bathing or other usages. He said Shapell hasn’t introduced documents about how MNWD’s water has caused pin-hole leaks in homes. A number of phone calls to the lawyers representing Shapell weren’t returned.

Gumerman mentioned Moulton Niguel gets its water using the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who imports it out of the Colorado River along with the State Water Project, a program of recollection plants, reservoirs and lakes. As outlined by its website, MWD works with chloramine, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, within the water treatment operation to eliminate harmful bacteria in the water.

MWD also offers water for the Santa Margarita Water District, which services the rest of Mission Viejo and in addition Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch plus the Talega neighborhood in San Clemente. MWD and SMWD were named as legal defendants within a challenge submitted Feb. 10 by Lennar Homes regarding pinhole leaks in old pipes in the Verano community of Talega.

Lennar’s objection alleges leaks in galvanized pipes in 62 Verano homes “are a main and/or legitimate result of corrosive, extreme and/orinadequately treated water” supplied by the districts. Lennar is seeking the districts to become held liable for the pipe leaks as well as any expenses, compensation or pay outs suffered by Lennar by reason of the pipe leaks.

Newmeyer & Dillion legal representative Carol Zaist, which may be couseling for Lennar, said the developer is unable to comment on unresolved lawsuits.

Newmeyer & Dillion additionally handles homebuilder Standard Pacific, which in the claim sent to the district in February distinguished 80 family homes in Ladera Ranch and Talega where owners have made note of pinhole water leaks in pipes and associated property damage. The complaint was first turned away by SMWD administrators, but recently available tests may overturn this opening conclusion.

SMWD speaker Michele Miller proclaimed the district doesn’t have to adjust or change the water supplied by MWD, additionally mentioning SMWD water meets or is higher than domestic water quality guidelines. Concerning results of water treatment options, “the district states there is no insight to indicate how the region’s water is causing a corrosive influence on galvanized pipes.”

Marc Edwards is a Virginia Tech city and environmental engineering instructor and a nationally identified consultant on pipe corrosion. A section of his attempts are to understand what causes pipe breakdowns and ways to put a stop to them. He said that a lot of different cases are emerging in California in which he can possibly expect to be retained as an expert witness.

“We’ve succesfully done without doubt more than a million dollars of research in the past seven years,” Edwards explained. “Now we have identified that water chemistry and harsh water are critical contributing factors of pinhole leaks.

“We are aware that other elements are sometimes present, including unnecessary velocity in plumbing and inadequate installation processes, therefore each individual lawsuit would need considerably intensive forensic analysis in order to assess the possible root cause and treatment plans,” he included.

Edwards said comparable requirements implemented to render water safe is likely to be resulting in pinhole water leaks. Even as disinfectants are essential, too much in most waters could be corrosive. He said scientific studies on chloramine has confirmed it by itself doesn’t necessarily eat pinhole leaks in water pipes, nevertheless “it may be possible, even likely, that chloramine plus other elements in the water can be heavily corrosive.”

Despite the fact that they may have great intentions, adjustments to meet requirements may perhaps be suffering from unintended repercussions, Edwards noted.

“You’ll find that there’s very much we do acknowledge,” he was quoted saying. “We’ve now completely validated that the water source is definitely a cause; not the particular sole cause, but an underlying reason. But there is however an awful lot we still do not know.”