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Crews working to repair Van Nuys water main break

A full shutdown is expected shortly of a water main that ruptured today in Van Nuys, unleashing a geyser three stories high at the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way.

Los Angeles Fire Department and Department of Water and Power officials were on the scene shortly after the 10:42 a.m. rupture. The nearly 20-foot geyser was soon reduced to a steady flow of water rising through the hole in the street.

No injuries or evacuations were reported but the street was flooded, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott. TV news coverage showed water shooting from the street well above a nearby one-story building. No damage was reported.

It was the latest in a string of major water main leaks in the Los Angeles area. Officials have attributed the problem to the city's aging water system, but the cause of today's rupture was unclear. The agency was investigating, DWP spokeswoman Gale Harris said.

The DWP originally reported that a 54-inch iron pipe ruptured, but officials have since learned it was an 8-inch connecting pipe, she said. It did not appear that the 54-inch pipe, known as a “purple pipe" that carries recycled water for irrigation and industrial purposes, was damaged.

The break was not expected to interrupt regular water service to DWP customers, Harris said.

Eastbound traffic along Sherman Way remained closed. Two westbound lanes on Sherman Way were open, as were all lanes on Van Nuys Boulevard.

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Moses Guardado watches as a geyser from a water main break towers over the corner of Sherman Way and Van Nuys Boulevard. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (6)

LADWP has been working on Sherman Way west of Sepulveda to repair or replace water pipes? Is that routine replacement or are they working on an old 'break'? A few weeks back, I reported a flood on Sherman Way in front of the Post Office.

Is it ironic that LADWP puts a water conservation program in place by having L.A. residents only water their lawns every Mondays and Thursdays and putting a huge surcharge on their water bill if they go over the water quota but then again they waste so much water due to these water main breaks.

Are any of the stimulus funds going to repair our 1950s era water pipes that are bursting across the country? Seems like a sensible investment to start updating our pipe infrastructure.

Well, it's not like we're in a draught or anything...oh wait. LADWP can just let all of this water waste away and just keep raising water prices and cry about how we need to save water. Maybe you should send out one of your 1,000 employees and try to figure out what is causing all of these breaks and then fix it. If you can do it without further raising the price of water, that would be great.

Good thing I shut off the faucet while I brushed my teeth this morning. I've heard there is a water shortage.

I honestly am not trying a spoof here!

What I am going to write is done out of my concern for the people of the Greater Los Angeles area.

First I will start with Pompeii and other famous quakes and volcanoes: every time Mother Nature gave plenty of precursors. For, example, see the outline from Japan analyzing this very subject: http://www-es.s.chiba-u.ac.jp/geoph/ulf/vesto/VESTO_program_090324_DO.pdf

The LA area has had two types of precursors: (A) roadbed chipping and flaking; and (B) major water main disruptions.

If there were just a random occurrence, here-or-there, then not too much worry should be had over it.

But, it is a fact that for the past three months there has been one water main breakage after another. Some may say that, "Well, these pipes are old..." but so what? Never have so many water mains broken in my memory and I've been living in the LA area almost 61 years out of my 65.

Then, a few weeks ago a major freeway bridge was shut down because the road was flaking off in chunks.

To make water mains break and bridges flake off requires lateral movements or vertical movements. Each of our water breaks is a sign to us that the ground is moving.

All of these signs are precursors to the next big one. I am not psychic or electromagnetically-gifted but it is clear that Mother Nature is giving us the signs.

I hope for Los Angeles and its surrounding environs that our officials are preparing for it.

Charles Benninghoff
[email protected]


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