A water main from 1926 broke in the Hollywood Hills during the early morning hours on Wednesday, letting over 100,000 gallons of water loose onto the streets, resulting in damage to sidewalks and submerging vehicles.
“I woke up at 2 in the morning and thought there was a sound of rain,” affected resident Chris Mora told the Los Angeles Times.
At least eight people, living in four units, were reportedly affected by the flood damage.
In the midst of California’s fourth year of a crippling drought, L.A. Department of Water and Power customers were without water until at least 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Repairs are expected to begin on Thursday.
While the cause of Wednesday’s main break is under investigation, the incident sheds light on a much larger problem beneath an aging city: the expiration dates of L.A.’s water mains. The Times writes that the cast-iron pipe that broke Wednesday morning was installed in 1926 and hadn’t had a leak in the last 10 years.
A grading system using letters determines the urgency of replacing damaged pipes. Mains marked by the DWP with D and F require the most urgent attention and consist of approximately 6% of the the system’s pipes. Wednesday’s pipe was reportedly graded as a C.
According to the Times, one-fifth of the city’s water mains were installed before 1931 but account for close to half the pipes that are most prone to cause damaging leaks.
Last July, over 10 million gallons of water flooded UCLA in what was widely seen as the largest water main break in Los Angeles history. And this past September, the infamously wild Playboy Mansion was one of approximately 20 homes to get wet after a water main broke on Sunset Boulevard.
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