At the beginning of July, California experienced two back-to-back high-intensity earthquakes. The magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 quakes caused over $100 million in damage, leaving homes destroyed, families in financial troubles, and California residents in fear of a larger, more destructive one on the horizon. Even San Diegans, living over 200 miles from the July quakes’ epicenters felt the effects of those earthquakes and the larger of the countless aftershocks. Even more shocking is that these quakes were not even close to the San Andreas Fault that stretches from Cape Mendocino to the Mexican border, past San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Although San Diego escaped the brunt of the damage, we are still not out of the water yet – and we mean that literally. At Carini, we perform leading plumbing and air conditioner replacements in San Diego County, and our main concern is with the pipes. Above-ground destruction aside, city, commercial, and residential pipes are always at risk of damage and staggering costs for repairs and replacements. During an earthquake, shifting earth can crack and break underground pipes, potentially stripping cities and towns of drinking water. Los Angeles and San Francisco took heed about 50 years ago, taking on strict building, bridge, and water system regulations in preparation for potential structural and plumbing issues after an earthquake. Additionally, in 2015, Los Angeles replaced all its plumbing with Japanese-manufactured seismic-safe pipes.
Unfortunately, San Diego was not required to adhere to those high standards due to a perceived lower risk of quakes and resulting damage. Although this assessment is admittedly correct, we still felt those high-magnitude quakes and some of the aftershocks this month, making more than a few people regret the lax regulations of the 70s and 80s. To make things more alarming, there are smaller (relatively active) faults like the Rose Canyon Fault around San Diego, and the San Andreas Fault stretches to the Salton Sea, directly below San Bernandino and only half the distance between the City of San Diego and the most recent earthquakes.
So, what happens now? How can we prevent critical plumbing damage if the quakes start hitting closer to home?
At the moment, San Diego is not nearly as prepared as the two largest cities to our north. If we were hit with a “big one” tomorrow, the structural damage to ill-equipped, unreinforced buildings alone would be overwhelming. However, following Los Angeles’s lead and retrofitting city pipes with the seismic variety would cause our residents to pay out a fair amount in their water bills.
No one knows what is going to happen, but steps need to be made soon in our city because the risk of earthquake damage is ever-looming, and our homes are at risk. Just because the city isn’t doing anything, doesn’t mean that homeowners in San Diego County can’t take their own precautions and have their pipes retrofitted by plumbing professionals.
Here are a few reasons why repiping your home could be beneficial for you and your family:
At Carini, we provide the top plumbing and air conditioning repairs in El Cajon and all of San Diego County. To learn more about our plumbing services or to schedule a home consultation, give us a call now.