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School violates water restriction law

July 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
At a time when L.A residents face penalties for wasting water, a San Fernando Valley school is under fire for allegedly running its sprinklers all day long, and violating conservation guidelines.The sprinklers on the field at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills are now off. But they were on earlier Friday, which is a violation of the new water restrictions. As you might imagine that made neighbors very upset and one called Eyewitness News to tell us about it.

"I've seen the water on almost constantly for the last week. And it is always on the during the heat of the day," said resident Hal Janzen.

Janzen says he called the school, but nobody did anything about it.

"I called the school police and it seemed to go off 15 minutes later. It was off at least until the next morning, but then I saw it back on. It has been on ever since," said Janzen.

"They run the sprinklers during the day sometimes and I am not sure why. I think they are on vacation. You would think they would run them at night," said resident Robert Kiel.

Robert Kiel and Linda Williamson made their front lawn eco-friendly, and seeing this they feel is simply a waste of water.

"There are more intelligent ways to do it like my husband said. They should water the lawn at night so there is less evaporation," said Williamson.

"We actually have 900 schools and we have had malfunctions with sprinkler systems from time to time," said Neil Gamble, LAUSD.

LAUSD officials say the Porter Middle School field was recently renovated, but they admit there was a problem.

"There was a recent exemption passed by the City Council that allows additional watering of athletic fields outside the Monday thru Thursday hours, however, still not between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. We had a miscommunication and we have circled back to make sure our crews understand that any watering has to be done outside those hours," said Gamble.

"LAUSD has an obligation to comply with the law just as everybody else does," said David Nahai, DWP.

The DWP says inspectors actually visited the school Thursday after getting complaints. They found a water main leak. The school promised to make repairs. Friday after we spoke to them the sprinklers were turned off.

"The school's not exempt. When we have gone out to the campuses and have spoken to them their response has been very positive. But we continue to be dependent on residents, the community to tell us," said Nahai.

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