Number of Road-Damaging Water Main ‘Blowouts’ in L.A. Up This Summer: LADWP Data

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After a water-main break on Sunset Boulevard, crews worked to make repairs on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

This summer, Los Angeles has seen more high-energy water line ruptures that cause street damage, according to data from the Department of Water and Power.

Though the total number of pipe leaks of all types are stable, “blowouts” — a term used to describe a subset of pipe breaks that damage roads — are up from last year, with 34 in July and 24 in August. That compares with five in each month last year, according to agency data.

Julie Spacht, water executive managing engineer for the agency, said that blowouts are more common in summer because heat expands pipes. That in turn causes longer pipe cracks which release more water and cause greater street damage.

“They look more spectacular, they tend to be more visible from the public’s point of view,” she said.

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