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Home Builder has lodged a complaint vs Water District claiming water supplied by the district is causing leaks within water pipes.

Santa Ana, CA: Two additional home developers already have lodged grievances in the Orange County Superior Court making claims standard water supplied by two South County water districts can be corroding piping, inducing water leaks which need hundreds of thousands of dollars of copper repiping repair and installs.

Shapell Industries filed a claim Nov 2, alleging drinking water delivered through the Moulton Niguel Water District to Shapell homes in two Laguna Niguel residential areas; San Joaquin Hills in addition to Hillcrest were treated with chloramine, a disinfectant of which Shapell says is known to cause pinhole leaks in the pipes of homeowners throughout the area.

The complaint states Shapell “will be required to correct and replace plumbing for at least 300 home properties” in those neighborhoods. The gripe doesn’t seem to designate the total number of houses that actually have leaks. The developer is attempting to get greater than $5 million in loss, stating product liability, recklessness, private nuisance and breach of service contract.

MNWD offers service to 55,000 residences and businesses in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and areas of Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.

“The only clients protesting and complaining pertaining to most of these water leaks reside in properties developed by Shapell throughout these few sections,” MNWD general manager Bob Gumerman said in a statement. “If the water was to blame, the condition would certainly be regularly occurring.”

Gumerman stressed that the district’s water supply matches or surpasses state and federal water-quality specifications and suitable for drinking and additional purposes. He said Shapell has never produced data on how MNWD’s water has contributed to pinhole pipe leaks in people’s homes. Multiple voice messages to the lawyers representing Shapell were not returned.

Gumerman mentioned Moulton Niguel gets its water supply from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who imports it from the Colorado River and the State Water Project, a system of recollection areas, tanks and lakes. As reported by its web site, MWD utilizes chloramine, a formula chlorine and ammonia, within the water treatment operation to kill organisms in water.

MWD also delivers water into the Santa Margarita Water District, which usually services the rest of Mission Viejo in addition to Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch plus the Talega area in San Clemente. MWD and SMWD were identified as as defendants with a complaint recorded Feb. 7 by Lennar Homes in regards to pinhole pipe leaks in old pipes within the Verano location of Talega.

Lennar’s grievance states water leaks in galvanized pipes in 58 Verano units “are a main and/or alternative result of corrosive, extreme and/orinaccurately treated water” delivered by the districts. Lennar demands the districts to become held responsible for the leaking and for any expenditures, harms or debt settlements incurred by Lennar because of the leaks.

Newmeyer & Dillion attorney Carol Zaist, which will be couseling for Lennar, said the developer won’t discuss pending legal proceedings.

Newmeyer & Dillion also represents home builder Standard Pacific, which lodged a complaint delivered to the district in March noted 74 family homes in Ladera Ranch and Talega where residents have complained of pinhole water leaks in pipes and related property damage. The complaint was at first turned away by SMWD administrators, but current scientific tests may turned around this opening evaluation.

SMWD spokeswoman Michele Miller said the district doesn’t modify or change the water available from MWD, in addition mentioning SMWD water satisfies or is higher than domestic water quality specifications. Concerning impact of water treatments, “the district believes there isn’t any additional info to show that the region’s water supply is bringing about a corrosive relation to galvanized pipes.”

Marc Edwards is known as a Virginia Tech civil and environmental engineering professor as well as nationwide identified consultant on water pipe corrosion. A part of his attempts are to take a look at the sources of pipe failures and approaches to put a stop to them. He said that a number of cases are developing in California and he expects to become hired as a possible expert witness.

“We’ve done potentially over a million dollars of scientific studies in the past eight years,” Edwards explained. “We observed that water chemistry and corrosive water are important contributing factors of pinhole water leaks.

“We know that other reasons are often times present, such as disproportionate velocity in plumbing and poor installation procedures, thus every individual lawsuit would need pretty comprehensive forensic evaluation to try and discover the potential root cause and treatment options,” he added.

Edwards said equivalent regulations carried out to make water safer is perhaps contributing to pinhole leaks. While disinfectants are essential, far too much in most waters may just be corrosive. He stated studies on chloramine shows it on its own doesn’t necessarily eat corrosion in water pipes, but “it is feasible, even expected, that chloramine plus other causes within the water are often remarkably corrosive.”

Though they probably have decent intentions, differences in order to reach specifications may perhaps be developing unintentional repercussions, Edwards noted.

“There is definitely a whole lot that we know,” he was quoted saying. “Now we have unambiguously validated that water is definitely a cause; not just one cause, but an underlying cause. There is however quite a bit we still are not aware of.”