Following last week’s massive water main break on Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power addressed the city’s aging water infrastructure in front of the LA City Council Energy and Environment Committee Wednesday afternoon.
The LADWP said that "both internal and external corrosion on the pipe" led to the July 29 water main break that sent 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus and nearby streets.
"These were things we already know. Unfortunately we just have a lot of this," LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager Jim McDaniel said.
When asked by the council members how to reduce the number of water main breaks and even stop them before a break happens, McDaniel said he believes that there is "no technological" solution and that replacing the pipes is what is needed.
The LADWP has explored new technologies such as a pilot program to install anti-leak, earthquake-resistant pipes from Japan.
The utility agency also said it would bring back a system to test pressure in pipes to determine whether they need to be removed. This program was discontinued 14 years ago as the trunk line replacement plan started.
According to the LADWP, the total pipeline investment this year is $192 million. The department also plans to ask for an additional $500 to $600 million to shorten the replacement plan from the current 300-year schedule to one that is only 100 years over the next two decades. That decision, however, would mean a rate increase – estimated to be a 2 percent increase per year.
The LA City Council is expected to release a report on this issue in 30 days.