EDITOR’S NOTE: Serious water main “blowouts” at more than a dozen points around LA in recent days have raised questions about the causes and whether the DWP has properly maintained the vast network of pipes in the city. Warren Olney on his KCRW show “WHICH WAY LA?” discussed the issue Wednesday with Ron Kaye and others. Here is an excerpt whichwayla.mp3
By Chelsea Cody.
OurLA News Director
The head of DWP water operations, James McDaniel, has assured the Board of
Water and Power Commissioners about the recent water main breaks in the
city of Los Angeles this month.
McDaniel acknowledged the number of serious water main breaks has jumped sharply from 13 in September 2006 to 17 a year later to 21 last year and is likely to hit 30 this month.
But he said the overall number of pipeline breaks in the city this month is within a normal range when compared to those that occurred during recent years.
There are about 1400 leaks throughout the city each year, which breaks down to roughly 4 leaks a day, a number that is well below the average number of leaks in similar sized average
systems across the country.
He did not, however, discuss the difference in age between these systems, nor the level of comparative upkeep and it’s role in these statistics.
About four times a week large breaks occur that cause the kind of damage seen when the trunk line burst on Coldwater Canyon earlier this month.
McDaniel admitted there has been an increase in these larger breaks over the past three months and although the DWP has yet to “nail down” the causes for these breaks, they are not beyond the capabilities of DWP to handle them.
The replacements proposed by McDaniel and the DWP have been budgeted at $1.3 billion over the next five years for water quality related infrastructure and $1.4 billion for general infrastructure replacement.
Much of the DWP’s analysis presented by McDaniels is based on a study conducted twelve years ago.