Xylem Bypass Pumping Solution Helps Protect the Mojave Desert

Xylem Bypass Pumping Solution Helps Protect the Mojave Desert

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Friday, December 9, 2016 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Making Waves | Water News From Xylem

CONTENT: Newsletter

In December 2010, storms damaged a main sewer pipeline in the Mojave Desert, causing an environmental catastrophe. Xylem was called in to create an emergency bypass pumping solution to stop millions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into the Mojave River.

During any given year, average rainfall in the Victor Valley of Southern California is approximately five inches. But 2010 wasn’t the average year. Five storms in December 2010 dropped one year’s worth of rain – more than five inches – in just one week, unleashing a chain of events that overwhelmed systems and wreaked havoc throughout the area.

Pushed beyond the limits of its banks, the Mojave River gushed at more than 36-cubic-feet-per-second in the Upper Mojave Narrows. The main sewer interceptor beneath the river became dislodged, causing raw sewage to spill over its banks and onto the Mojave Desert. It was an environmental catastrophe and declared a federal emergency by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And it required immediate attention.

Xylem’s temporary bypass pumping solution

Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) called in the local Xylem team to address the immediate need and get a temporary bypass in place as quickly as possible. Xylem was onsite first thing the following morning with necessary equipment and personnel to get the project started.

After a quick assessment, pumps, piping, and corresponding accessories were mobilized on the job site. Working 24/7, the complete bypass was designed and installed, and the team was able to stop the flow of raw sewage nine days later.


“We had to mobilize 5,000 feet of HDPE [high-density polyethylene] pipe from Colorado, over 500 miles away,” says Logan Olds, General Manager at VVWRA. “Once it got here, we then had to fuse the pipe, build the bridge across the Mojave River and install the two pumping stations. Xylem and our other vendor partners came through for us in a big way. Nine days was nothing short of miraculous.” 

Godwin pump-sets with a nearly mile-long HDPE discharge line

The Upper Narrows bypass pumping solution encompassed two distinct components. On the Victorville side of the project, there was a 36-inch sewer main with seven million gallons per day of flow that had to be bypassed.

CATEGORY: Environment