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Fairfax main break is LA's 35th in Sept.

September 28, 2009 12:22:48 AM PDT
It's happened again. Another water main break flooded a busy Los Angeles intersection Monday morning. Residents demand answers about why there have been almost three dozen breaks in September.The latest break was reported about 6 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard. It follows three other breaks this weekend in Sylmar, Encino and the Hollywood Hills. Crews have been working to fix the morning break near the Miracle Mile Monday.

The southbound lane of Fairfax south of San Vicente was still closed to traffic for about three blocks Monday evening.

L.A. Dept. of Water and Power (DWP) crews were working on the water main break at the corner of San Vicente and Fairfax Monday afternoon. They just filled in a large sinkhole with cement and were getting ready to put the cement plates over top. The road was expected to reopen Monday night.

Several DWP customers were without power and water.

"I woke up and there was a geyser in front of house with all the water going everywhere and every news truck in town was there," said local resident Diane Bennett. Hours later, Diane Bennett still had no water and no power.

"I've had an ongoing problem with water," said Bennett. "My bill was $800 and I called DWP and I'm getting no attention or relief on this."

In the past month, many residents in the Los Angeles area have been frustrated by the water situation. They are the customers affected by the more than 35 water main breaks around the city, 14 more than September 2008.

"I've directed the DWP to look into it to check it out," said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Even the mayor thinks the number of water main breaks is cause for concern.

Earlier this month a 64-inch trunk line burst in Studio City, flooding businesses and home and shutting down Coldwater Canyon for almost a week. That pipe was 95 years old.

And just Sunday morning, Lincoln Boulevard in Venice was buckled by a rupture in an 8-inch pipe. It created a sinkhole the width of one lane. Crews shut off the water and about 20 customers were impacted.

The DWP believes aging pipes, the soil and traffic volume could be to blame for some of the breaks, but there is some speculation among experts. The cause could be the city's watering restrictions, putting pressure on the pipes when L.A. residents are allowed to water.

"What we're not going to do is respond to every speculative idea about what the reason for this is," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "We're going to investigate it. We're putting the experts on it. We're going to make a determination about just what's wrong and we're going to fix it."

The water was back on for the residents near the Miracle Mile and customers around the intersection of San Vicente and Fairfax. The power was still out to about a hundred customers in the area Monday evening.

A DWP spokesperson said the southbound lane of Fairfax south of San Vicente should be reopened by 7 p.m. Monday.

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