Water-main break floods Hollywood’s Sunset Strip

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Water Main Break
(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California (AP) — A water-main break Friday sent churning, muddy water flowing down West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, forcing authorities to close a section of the busy street to traffic as hotels and other businesses sought to keep their properties dry.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was determining what valves needed to be closed to shut off the flow of water, which was spreading like runoff from a torrential downpour into surrounding streets.

No injuries were reported.

The break occurred in a 36-inch steel, riveted pipe that was constructed in 1916. The pipe was coated with cement in 1957 to prolong its life, department spokesman Joe Ramallo said.

There were no reports of customers losing water service, Ramallo said.

It was the second time in recent months that Sunset Boulevard — a traffic artery in and around Los Angeles — has been closed by a flood created by a broken water main.

In July, the rupture of a nearly century-old water main ripped a 15-foot hole through the boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a swamp. Hundreds of cars and campus buildings were damaged by that break.

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

On average, the Department of Water and Power’s aging water system has three breaks a day in 7,200 miles of piping.

Friday’s break, which created a steady spout of water along a sidewalk, occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Los Angeles County firefighters were going door to door to make sure no one was trapped by the water.

Water also spilled onto nearby Santa Monica Boulevard, although that street was not immediately closed.

Much of the piping that carries drinking water in the U.S. dates to the first half of the 20th century, with some installed before Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House.

In Los Angeles, a million feet of piping has been delivering water for at least 100 years. A series of pipe breaks in recent years prompted promises to expand repairs and replacements. In 2009, several dozen breaks — including one that sent up a gusher the size of Old Faithful — flooded city streets.

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