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2 more water main breaks flood streets

September 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two more water mains broke Wednesday morning in the San Fernando Valley, triggering flooding in Winnetka and Warner Center.An 8-inch main burst just before 2:30 a.m. Wednesday at Corbin Avenue and Kittridge Street in the Winnetka area. An area around the broken main was coned off, but the intersection remains open to traffic.

A second pipe broke at around 4:30 a.m. in the area of Burbank Boulevard and Irondale Avenue in Warner Center.

The ruptures continue a string in L.A.'s water system that has raised concern among city leaders.

At least eight water lines have ruptured since Sept. 5.

The largest break was on Coldwater Canyon near Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, where a busted 62-inch trunk line flooded homes and businesses. Just a few blocks away, on Sept. 8, a 6-inch main gave out, causing a sinkhole that half-swallowed a fire truck just east of Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village.

Officials aren't sure what's causing the blowouts, but they acknowledge the city's huge water system is aging.

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

There were 13 in the first 14 days of the month compared to 21 for all of last September.

DWP officials say they need more money to fix the problem. They are proposing a water rate increase of about $2 a month per customer to raise $1.4 billion for system upgrades.

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