“Geyser of neglect”

UCLA Flooding

The Los Angeles Times called it a “geyser of neglect”. The burst water main on Sunset Boulevard that flooded the UCLA campus and Pauley Pavilion caused the loss of more than 20 million gallons of water. People in the Eastern Sierra turned a critical eye on the Department of Water and Power for allowing infrastructure to create such waste in the third dry year.

Photo by DWP

Photo by DWP

DWP scrambled to find the valve to shut off the geyser of water. It took awhile. According to the LA Times, the water lost from the break of the 90-year-old water main was enough to serve 155,000 people for a day. The Times also said more than a quarter of the City’s water pipes are more than 100 years old and that the DWP’s replacement rate is 315 years. The political heat is on in LA.

The break took place Tuesday and DWP was quoted as saying the rupture was not completely shut off by Wednesday. Reports indicated the water was finally shut off Thursday morning. Although DWP’s website says it was shut off Tuesday. At UCLA the damage was severe to sports facilities, parking garages and more of the campus.

DWP was also quoted as saying that no customers were without water Wednesday and water quality was not adversely impacted due to the break. The extensive repair and replacement work is underway by DWP. The utility is also offering claim forms for those who believe they were damaged.

13 Responses to “Geyser of neglect”

  1. JaneE August 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Liability on pipe used to be limited to 30 years. I can’t believe than any insurer would take that kind of risk, so I guess all the people who get their water from DWP will be getting stuck with the bills. Not to mention the waste of potable water.

    • Desert Tortoise August 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Why do you assume a large city buys insurance for their infrastructure? It is not required by law. Big cities self insure.

  2. Tom O August 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    I have officially stopped w/ the water rationing….In north LA county they are still building 15-20,000 homes as this happened.i live at the source …..screw them!!

    • upthecreek August 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      Have you been to Orange County lately,???
      same thing down there.. new houses and new lawns Everywhere.
      Caltrans was plenty of water for all the landscaping along the freeways as they flash water conservation messages on their roadway message signs.
      There is plenty of water for new water meters and new property taxes..

      In the meantime they force rationing.

      Govt gone Wild…

      • JaneE August 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        Depending on where you are, freeways and golf courses are watered with reclaimed water. It could be drinking water, but most people can’t bring themselves to use “toilet to tap” water.

        • Desert Tortoise August 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

          Orange County Water Authority has been treating waste water to a drinkable standard and pumping this water back into the Santa Ana River aquifer for many years, at least a decade. They are a pioneer in this technology. Cost per acre foot is comparable to imported Northern California water. LA is building such a plant in the San Fernando Valley inside Sepulveda Basin and one is in the design stages in San Diego.

  3. upthecreek August 1, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    it’s all about their pensions it always has been.
    Pensions and benefits before infrastructure…
    why spend money on a pipe you do not see..
    After all it will last another 10 years..
    The public pension ponzi scheme will implode.
    it’s just a matter of time

    Govt gone WILD…

  4. chris August 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    If it’s predictable, it’s preventable. It was, and is. FIX IT!!

    • Desert Tortoise August 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      The problem is that even with some of the lowest utlity rates in the state LADWP ratepayers do not want to pay higher utility bills than they already do. Efforts to raise rates in LA have gone nowhere in the face of stiff public opposition. So you say fix it, but you are not the one who is going to pay the bill. It is up to LADWPs rate payers to come to terms with the problem and decide how much more they want to pay.

  5. johndoeml August 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    How big was the Snowcreek flood? 1/2 million gallons http://sierrawave.net/27379/mammoth-water-district-response/

    Let’s pressure DWP, but let’s also keep our own house in order.

    • JaneDoeML August 4, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      The Snowcreek flood was from an improperly installed water main on Snowcreek’s property, not MCWD’s (you might want to read the press release you linked). Mammoth’s water mains only average ~20 years old and will outlive all of us and before their expected service lifespan is up. Thanks for showing some interest in a vital part of our community’s infrastructure though!

      • johndoeml August 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

        I didn’t blame MCWD for Snowcreek (you might want to read what I wrote and not what you think I wrote). But you have to admit that the burst pipe was an infrastructure problem and a big leak–as much as 5% of the LA leak. Just because it wasn’t a public utility at fault doesn’t make it inconsequential. And no, I’m not blaming Snowcreek either.

        There was a decent rupture a few winters back at the intersection of Ranch Road and Old Mammoth (I think winter of 08-09). I was there and saw the water flooding into the Snowcreek development. These things happen.

        It’s similar to the air quality complaints. People love to complain about smog blowing over from the Central Valley but are totally fine with their outdated wood stoves blanketing smoke over the ghetto in the winter. We’re a bunch hypocrites.

        In the end, there’s not much we can do about LA outside of the courts. Let’s fix what we can here in Mammoth.

  6. Philip Anaya August 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    DWP = 100 year old pipes and 100 year old Management style and the good ole boys, the Managers still have their jobs . Expect more of the same . If you are a ratepayer expect to pay for it all . Aside from the loss of water, the expense of the repairs, how about 900 cars @ an average of $10,000 a piece, Call that $10 mil + with rental car replacement and administrative expense . A floorman like myself also knows that the floor work at Pauly Pavillion will also be a major number at about $35 to $50 a square foot. I can just visualize those commercial floor sanders rolling dollar signs even in all that dust.
    A well managed DWP would have, might consider a plan to deal with future eventual failures on Sunset Blvd . This Plan would have include, training, locations of valves and exact knowledge and coordination to turn the water off . Training of the repair staff should include drills for areas adjacent to the pipelines that have a particular vulnerability to a massive blow out of the pipeline, like UCLA that is down stream and has below grade structures that have people and property in them . Mitigation for this eventual predictable below out could be directing the flood into flood control channels.
    Being in West LA working these past weeks one can hardly avoid the newscasts about this mess. Thank goodness no one was killed.
    DWP may never prescribe to the idea to proactive and a evolved Management style . When requested, suggested and given the opportunity for 6 months over the fall and winter to avoid the damages this past year, to plan for drought in the Bishop Creek Drainage DWP found a way to say “no” to common sense and logic. The “no” was peppered with initial misinformation, denial, duck and cover, dumb down, half promises ,”we are talking to SCE” with the fingers crossed behind their backs LADWP is arrogant and self regulation by the City insures the status quo for the City and it’s LADWP . Their kind of behavior warrants not one drop of water , not one kilowatt of energy from the Owens Valley because they continue to demonstrate decisions and deeds not to be trusted .


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