Mesa Water Supported SB 1387 (Emmerson) Metal Theft Bill, Signed by Governor Brown, to Protect Water Supply, Community and Save Repair Costs

Costa Mesa, Calif.; Oct. 2, 2012Mesa Water District (Mesa Water) joined several public works agencies in supporting SB 1387 (Emmerson), a metal theft bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown that will take effect January 1, 2013.  Mesa Water Board President, Fred R. Bockmiller, Jr., P.E., had the opportunity to meet with Governor Brown in February this year to express his and the District’s support for SB 1387.  This bill provides tools for prosecuting metal thieves by establishing civil and criminal fines and penalties for unlawful possession of three essential public safety items:  backflow devices, fire hydrants, and manhole covers.

Theft of these three items leads to a significant public safety risk.  Stolen backflow devices leave potable water sources vulnerable to cross-contamination.  Stolen fire hydrants render properties defenseless to fire.  Furthermore, individuals have been severely injured falling down manholes where the cover was stolen and automobiles and bicycles have been damaged driving over open manholes.

“Mesa Water believes that SB 1387 is a critical measure and necessary response to the metal theft epidemic occurring throughout California,” says Mesa Water Board President Fred R. Bockmiller, Jr., P.E.  He continues, “In addition to causing significant public health and safety risk to community members, metal theft costs public agencies thousands of dollars annually in repair and replacement costs.  The passage of SB 1387 is a benefit to citizens in our service area in that it will help save on annual repair costs while also protecting our water supply and the safety of our community members.”

Additionally, SB 1387 prohibits junk dealers or recyclers from possession of metal infrastructure items without written certification on public agency or utility letterhead.  SB 1045, a companion bill to SB 1387 that was also signed into law, further enables local agencies to recoup funds for the cost of stolen metal infrastructure items.

Law Takes Effect January 1, 2013


About Mesa Water

Founded on January 1, 1960, and governed by a publicly-elected, five-member Board of Directors, Mesa Water is an independent special district that provides water service to 110,000 residents in an 18-square-mile service area that includes most of Costa Mesa, a portion of Newport Beach, and John Wayne Airport. Mesa Water provides 100 percent local reliable groundwater to its customers due to the Mesa Water Reliability Facility. Visit, follow @MesaWater on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, email, or call 949.631.1200 to learn more.