News Flash


Posted on: March 10, 2023

Helix replaces two large valves at the backbone of its system


We recently replaced two large valves that over half of our 277,000 Helix customers depend on each day.

Replacing these valves improves the operation and reliability of the district's largest transmission lines. 

Located at a flow control facility in Lakeside, the valves adjust in response to the water flowing out of our treatment plant and changes to water demands within the system. At the center of this transmission system is a 54-inch pipeline that flows by gravity from our treatment plant to our 30 million gallon underground reservoir located at Harry Griffen Regional Park in La Mesa. From there, this system feeds all the interconnected water mains and pump stations we use to serve the areas of El Cajon, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Spring Valley and Lemon Grove. 

The previous valves were installed 26 years ago, in 1997. We could no longer service the valves as replacement parts for electrical and mechanical components were no longer available. 

New 20 inch valve before installationAbove: New 20-inch valve for controlling smaller flows

Work included the installation of a new 54-inch rubber-seated butterfly valve to control large flows and a 20-inch metal-seated butterfly valve to control of smaller flows. The site received other upgrades, including a new vault hatch and interior platforms to improve accessibility and maintenance,  and updated electrical controls to improve the safety, security and functionality of the facility. 

Large 54' valve getting lowered into ground and positioned

Above: Large 54-inch valve getting lowered into position. 

Replacement of a large valve involves considerable advanced planning and design efforts to avoid taking critical facilities offline. Helix staff started the pre-design evaluation for the project in 2019 and work began in May 2022. Last month, the district completed construction at this site. 

The replacement of these valves is part of the district's large valve replacement program, a scheduled plan for replacing all of Helix’s large valves, over 400 of them, on a 25-50-year replacement schedule. 

Projects like this show how Helix reinvests in your water infrastructure to keep your water flowing as reliably and cost-effectively as possible. 

Learn about upcoming projects and how we put water rates to work by visiting our construction page at

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