Benicia Drinking Water Emergency – City working on a temporary bypass line

Water Transmission Line Incident Update

April 5, 2023

Benicia Proclaims Local Emergency; Announces Testing of Bypass Line for Damaged Water Transmission Pipeline

The City of Benicia proclaimed a local emergency following the break in its water transmission line when a hillside in Fairfield collapsed during recent rain storms.

The declaration of a local emergency will enable the city to use all resources necessary to repair the damaged water transmission pipeline. “It’s important for us to take this action so that the city can receive funding through the California Disaster Assistance Act and any other State and Federal funding that may be available,” said Mario Giuliani, interim city manager.

Benicia Public Works and various contractors are working on a temporary bypass line to regain access to the city’s primary water sources which are delivered via the damaged line. Designing the bypass began last week upon notification of the damage. Construction for the bypass line began on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 and is expected to be ready for testing on Friday, April 7. If testing is successful, then water transmission from Cordelia to the City of Benicia will be partially restored. While testing is scheduled to begin on Friday, it could take several days to fully assess the viability of the temporary system. Construction is now underway 24-hours a day until testing is complete.

“This is a highly complex project,” said Public Works Director Kyle Ochenduszko. “The bypass line is unique to the pipeline system and ever evolving circumstances. While we are confident that the bypass line will be successful, this is a situation with many variables,” he explained.

The bypass line is a temporary solution that will provide the community water while the primary pipeline is being repaired.

The bypass line will deliver water at a lower capacity than the main line. Benicia’s water source will still be coming from Lake Herman until the bypass line has been successfully tested. Benicia residents and businesses are still under 40 percent mandatory water conservation until further notice.

A special webpage has been established to provide a one-stop source for information about this incident. The site can be found at

Social media posts, email notifications and other communications materials are being regularly distributed to residents and businesses as information becomes available. To sign up for emergency alerts, visit To sign up for email notifications, visit