Del Mar sues Bakersfield company over pipe rupture

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The city of Del Mar filed a lawsuit against a Bakersfield-based company over an alleged pipe rupture three years ago that leaked 125,000 gallons of wastewater.

According to the complaint, filed last month in San Diego County Superior Court, the city is asking for reimbursement of more than $140,000 in repair costs, $42,500 in fines levied by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and court costs.

The city of Del Mar agreed to a purchase order with the company, Rain for Rent, on Jan. 12, 2017 for the installation of a temporary bypass pipeline around a section of the city’s wastewater force-main, the lawsuit states. The cost was approximately $5,000.

Del Mar’s legal counsel alleges that the rupture took place on Jan. 25, 2017 in the 200 block of 21st Street. The city “was forced to contain the spill to protect nearby homes and businesses from flooding and contamination,” before repairing the temporary pipeline five days later, the lawsuit alleges.

The city further alleges that Rain for Rent “improperly installed the temporary bypass pipeline,” which caused a pressure surge that led to the rupture.

“A contractor in the same or similar circumstances would have exercised greater professional knowledge, skill, and diligence when selecting materials and performing the same work,” the city’s legal counsel, Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, wrote in the complaint.

Brian Caldwell, a Rain for Rent spokesman, said in an email that the company is “reviewing the allegations.”

“At this time we cannot make any comment on the pending litigation,” he added.