DWP: Old Pipes, Cold Temps Behind Jump In Water Main Breaks

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A wintry cold front and aging infrastructure are likely the two main factors that have caused multiple water main pipes to burst across the city, water officials said Thursday.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports the Department of Water and Power has responded to over 30 leaks so far this week — double the number from last week.

DWP crews on Thursday repaired the latest rupture when a 4-inch water main burst on Utica Drive in Laurel Canyon.

DWP Superintendent Mike Miller said the colder weather causes the pipes to shrink very slightly and can sometimes end up shattering them altogether.

“Most of the pipe is old, to put it bluntly,” said Miller.

But recent cutbacks have slowed the department’s plans to repair as many as 90,000 broken or leaky cast-iron pipes citywide.

“Last year, we installed or replaced about 120,000 feet of pipe, but with the money issues we’ve had to scale back,” Miller said.

The DWP recently moved to increase water rates for the average residential customer by about $5 per month in order to help fund major improvements.

The City Council is expected to vote on the measure in January.

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