Dry Sunday Due to Water Main Break

Photos by Mary O’KEEFE
A water main break in the 4800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue damaged the street and shut off water to about 15 houses on Sunday.


On Sunday around 4 a.m. about 15 houses were without water after a break in a water main occurred on the west side of Pennsylvania Avenue between El Caminito and Stevens streets. The break created a sinkhole on Pennsylvania and caused asphalt on the street to buckle.

There are many pipes in the area that are the responsibility of both Glendale Water and Power and Crescenta Valley Water District. The two water districts worked together on Sunday to isolate the water main break and found it was a CVWD pipe. The affected houses were without water for most of Sunday.

The water pipe was placed in 1946, said Christy Scott, CVWD spokeswoman.

A worker clamps a pipe during repairs on the break.

Crews repaired the old pipe on Sunday to get water back on to customers’ homes. The job was slowed when a sewer line leading to a home broke, apparently due to the main water break. GWP repaired the sewer line.

“We had another shut down [on Tuesday] that affected five customers,” Scott said.

The 73-year-old pipe is another sign of infrastructure that needs to be updated.

There seem to be two thoughts of what to do with aging infrastructure. One is to replace the pipes every 50 years; the other is to wait until they break.

The problem with waiting is the domino-effect that results when a water pipe breaks. For example, the incident on Sunday did not just affect the yard where the pipe was located, which had to be dug up, but also the road, which had just been paved, was impassable.

“The road [as of Wednesday] is still closed,” Scott said.

The responsibility falls to CVWD to repair/repave the road. Although the incident is still being reviewed, most likely repaving the entire road will be necessary instead of just repaving the section that was damaged. In addition, CVWD crews are investigating the damage done below the surface.

Scott added the CVWD staff will propose that the entire older pipe be replaced as opposed to providing a temporary fix. This proposal will be presented for a vote to the CVWD board. If a new pipe is approved, it will most likely be laid next to the old pipe for a quick switchover, so customers will be without water for only a short amount of time.

The area where the break occurred is a bit unusual because there are so many pipes from both CVWD and GWP. As to the best solution to future issues, they are being investigated by the CVWD staff.