14 Days, 13 Water Main Breaks

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Sep 16, 2009  |  Updated 10:10 AM PDT
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Three more water mains broke overnight in the West Valley.

That's 13 breaks in the first 14 days of this month, according to water system head Jim McDaniel's count.

Officials called the string of breaks puzzling, but they acknowledge the city's huge water system is aging.

Three overnight water main breaks in the San Fernando Valley buckled roads. One break opened up a sinkhole in Woodland Hills.

"It's like the entire street just floated up," said resident Josh Wagoner.

Six other ruptures occurred earlier this month around the city. A fire truck was partially swallowed by a sinkhole created by a Sept. 8 break.

A break in Studio City forced the closure of Coldwater Canyon for one week.

The overall pipe failure rate isn't unusual, water officials said the number of so-called "major blowouts" in which pavement is ruptured has increased.

McDaniel said there were 21 breaks in all of last September.

Water officials are seeking rate hikes to raise $1.4 billion for system upgrades.

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