Graves Reservoir Project Breaks Ground Saturday 

City officials along with other dignitaries held a groundbreaking Saturday to mark the beginning of the massive reconstruction to repair the Graves Reservoir. Photo by Joseph Ruiz

A massive reservoir reconstruction project broke ground Saturday that, when completed, could deliver fresh, clean drinking water to South Pasadena residents.

Saturday’s groundbreaking marks the city’s ongoing “aggressive water capital improvement program” that will eventually make 1 million gallons of water available, which is the estimated storage capacity of Graves Reservoir.

“The Graves Reservoir is a critical part of the city’s water infrastructure, and the replacement project will help insure both the continuity and sustainability of the water supply for decades to come,” said John Pope, the city’s interim public information officer. “We’re excited to break ground this week and get started on construction. The project is moving along as scheduled toward the anticipated 2020 completion date.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu was on hand for Saturday’s groundbreaking, also saying this project is essential to South Pasadena.

“I am here because this is a significant moment to be able to repair this reservoir for the South Pasadena residents,” Chu said at the groundbreaking event. “Of course many were worried because there was tap water that came out looking brown, a most alarming kind of thing. And with that, you can’t really trust that the water is safe. But clearly the infrastructure of the water pipes has been aging and there has to be a repair and renovation.”

Chu said she is directly involved with the Graves reconstruction project because she was instrumental in freeing up funds to pay for it.

“I’m connected to this because there were funds for the Wilson project (in San Gabriel but serving So Pas) that was started many years ago by (Rep.) Adam Schiff and the Wilson project had monies left over and by that time, South Pasadena transferred to me, and we had to take quick action to get that money over to this reservoir. And we did, and we were successfully able to save that money for the repair of this project. It took prodding. Sometimes bureaucracy can be daunting. I was so relieved that this was successful.”