Massive water main leak floods Monrovia streets

A massive water main rupture flooded Monrovia street, damaged a business and threatened homes as it gushed thousands of gallons of water per minute for about two hours early Friday, authorities said.
A Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority crew was digging around the 16-inch water main along California Avenue, just north of Duarte Road, about 8:30 a.m. when the pipe ruptured, Monrovia police Sgt. Dan Verna said. The crew was carrying out ongoing construction work related to the Gold Line California Avenue, just north of Duarte Road, as part of ongoing Metro Gold Line route construction.
Police were conducting traffic control for the construction project and were present when they pipe burst, and the water began gushing, “like a tidal wave,” the sergeant said.
At its peak, 2,000 to 2,5000 gallons of water per minute flooded from the pipe, Monrovia Department of Public Works Deputy Director Mark Carney said.
Earlier estimates of the amount of water spilling from the water main relayed via police were significantly higher.
The water initially rose above curbs and covered the front yards of several nearby homes, officials added. The water flowed south down California Avenue and east along Duarte Road.
An iron working business in the 400 block of E. Duarte Road was flooded with about six inches of water, Monrovia police and fire officials said. The full extent of the damage was not immediately clear.
Officials used sandbags and fire houses to redirect the water away from the threatened homes, Monrovia Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Pelham said.
Firefighters and public works crew members managed to stop the flow of water just after 10:30 a.m.
Workers then began draining the remaining water from the pipe and the 4-foot deep, 10-foot-wide hole in which the broken water main sat.
Until that was completed, it was not clear how extensive the damage to the pipe was, or how long it would take to repair, Carney said.
MTA and Monrovia DPW crews were working together to repair the water main as quickly as possible, he added.
“Everybody will be here until it’s fixed,” Carney said.
During the two hours in which water was flowing from the large pipe, some Monrovia residents experienced decreased water pressure, but few were believed to have completely lost water service, Carney said. The vast majority of the city’s water pressure was restored once the leak was stopped, leaving only a handful of businesses to the west of California Avenue without water.
While the water main, which draws it’s water from underground wells, is a significant line supplying water to the city, but not it’s only one, Carney said. A second 16-inch water main, which was not damaged, also runs beneath California Avenue, as well as others elsewhere in the city.
Duarte Road between Shamrock and Myrtle avenues, as well as California Avenue between Monrovista and Pomona avenues, remained closed Friday afternoon as cleanup and repair work continued.
The cause of the rupture had not been determined Friday afternoon, Metro Gold Line officials said..
“We know that the line is 60 to 70 years old,” Metro Gold Line CEO Habib Balian said in a written statement. “An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the rupture.
The main was not believed to have been struck by construction equipment, Metro Gold Line spokeswoman Lisa Levy Buch said.

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