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So. L.A. water-main break causes 40-ft. crater

January 27, 2010 12:22:22 AM PST
A water-main break in South Los Angeles flooded a neighborhood and created a 40-by-40-foot crater Wednesday.The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported that technically, the huge hole in the street is not a sinkhole, but is called a "blowout," because the water from the break washed away the soil from underneath the surface of the street. LADWP crews have been on scene working since Wednesday morning.

Water gushed from the water-main break on the 1500 block of West 65th Street, and water flowed into at least two homes in the area. The entire block of West 65th Street between Denker Avenue and Harvard Boulevard was covered with water and mud.

Jessica Castro of South Los Angeles and her family live in one of two homes whose front lawns and driveways are covered with mud and water for a second day in a row. In the street in front of them, there's the large sinkhole, the result of a significant water main break that started Tuesday at 4 a.m.

"We just saw this little puddle. We never thought it was a hole," said Castro.

In the middle of the street between the two homes, the water-main break triggered a 40-by-40-foot crater.

Residents living on West 65th Street were out of water all day Tuesday while crews repaired a water-main break. By 9 p.m. Tuesday, water service was restored. But by 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, another pipe burst, creating another mess.

In the middle of the street between the two homes, the water-main break triggered a 40-by-40-foot crater.

Angel Lopez, whose driveway was under several inches of water, said that it was worse Tuesday, with mounds of mud several inches deep.

"This sometimes happens when a cast-iron pipe is de-pressurized and re-pressurized," said LADWP worker Jose Castruita.

"We haven't had any water since 8 this morning," said block resident Edward Brown. "We can't use the toilet, can't flush, can't wash the dishes. You know, it's just real messy right now."

LADWP crews expected to be on the scene through the evening, and hopefully have service restored Wednesday night.

There were two additional water-main breaks that the DWP worked on Wednesday, one in downtown L.A. and one in Echo Park.