Water lost in Sunset break doubles to 20 million gallons

Sunset Boulevard sink hole. Twitpic: Claudia Peschiutta.

The Department of Water and Power has recalculated upward — by 100 percent or more — the estimate of Stone Canyon Reservoir water spilled in the pipeline break under Sunset Boulevard near UCLA. The new figure is 20 million gallons, or about four percent of the city's total water use on a normal day. That's also about what 100 average families use in a whole year. Any way you cut it, it's a lot of water and helps explain why water filled the lower level of a subterranean parking structure at UCLA and covered Pauley Pavilion's basketball floor.

The DWP said late Wednesday that crews were still slowly closing the valves affected by the break near the meeting of two main trunk lines. The procedure going forward may involve the placement of an inflatable balloon inside one of the lines.


From DWP's 4:30 p.m. update:

Water flow into the work area has slowed as LADWP water crews carefully work valves in the area to fully close off water to the site of the rupture. Valves are located near the break and along the two trunklines that connect at the point of a “Y” juncture where the break occurred, and connect to Stone Canyon Reservoir. Closing aged valves that operate at high pressure is a complex operation to ensure additional breaks on the lines do not occur.

In conjunction with the valve operations, crews may also use an inflatable “balloon plug” [shown] to stop the flow of water into the work area to allow for removal of the pipe juncture without having to shut down other major water trunk lines serving LA’s Westside.

LADWP now estimates up to 20 million gallons of water have been lost as a result of the break. This updated estimate is based on the fact that two trunk lines that meet at a juncture were involved and both were operating at high pressure. 20 million gallons is equal to approximately 4% of the City’s water use for one day....

Sunset Boulevard remains closed for the next 48-hours. We will be better able to estimate the duration once further progress has been made on repairs.

Also tonight, the Los Angeles Fire Department treated six workers who were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes while working in one of UCLA's parking garages. Two of the workers were taken to the hospital, the LAFD confirmed.

UCLA upped its number of vehicles stranded in the closed garages, parking structures 4 and 7, to more than 900. Not all of the cars had been submerged, but the plan is to remove every car to outdoor parking lots where owners can reclaim their vehicle or begin insurance processing. That process may begin as early as Friday, UCLA officials estimated.

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