HACIENDA HEIGHTS, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents of a Hacienda Heights neighborhoods are dealing with a muddy mess after a water main break opened a sinkhole, flooded the area and forced some homes to evacuate.
But neighbors say the problem could have been addressed before the disaster. They say they noticed water trickling down the canyon almost two weeks earlier but when they reported the issue, the San Gabriel Valley Water Company response was slow.
Hours before the sinkhole opened, they could see more water flowing down the canyon.
"I called back and said if a truck goes by, the truck's going under when the road goes," said one resident, who asked only to be identified as Denzel. "I said, 'When are you going to fix this thing?' and they said about two weeks. I say 'it ain't going to last.'"
The surface gave out Monday night, opening up a large sinkhole and sending water, mud and debris flowing down the canyon. Cars were stuck in the mud and at least two homes had to be evacuated.
Now heavy machinery has been moved in and emergency repairs are underway. Residents say they're glad there were no serious incidents, especially since it could have been prevented.
"It's a major blowout," Denzel said. "But as far damage and everything to the properties and stuff it's repairable."
The San Gabriel Valley Water Company issued a statement Tuesday night indicating that water service was restored to the seven customers who were disrupted by the break. The company said the break to the 8-inch main was reported around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Crews responded and isolated the pipe by 8:30 p.m., while water service was restored by around 9:30 a.m. the next day.
Short-term repairs have been made, while long-term measures are being planned.
The company said the pipe is well short of its life expectancy.
"The affected water main was constructed in 1978, but has life-expectancy of 75 years or more and had no history of leaks," said Josh Swift, Vice President of Operations. "The water main break resulted in flooding and mud and debris flows to the area of Avocado Terrace. Fortunately, no one was injured and the area has been deemed safe to access."