Breaks waste more than 120,000 gallons of water

A broken water main sends water and rocks shooting more than 20 feet into the air on the 23300 block of Valencia Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Between 120,000 and 165,000 gallons of water went down the drain, literally, Tuesday after a hydrant was sheared off in Newhall in the morning, and a service line broken later in the day.

The water released in both breaches was between 100,000 to 150,000 gallons in Newhall and between 10,000 and 15,000 gallons in Valencia.

At 6:05 a.m., emergency response crews were dispatched to a traffic collision on the 24700 block of Hacienda Lane, near Alderbrook Drive.

“This was for a vehicle versus hydrant,” said Melinda Choi, a supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Officials with SCV Water Agency were also notified.

“We were called at 6:10 (a.m.) and responded at 6:35,” said Kathie Martin, spokeswoman for the water agency.

“The Fire Department had shut the water off already,” she said.

Mike Alvord, director of operations and maintenance for the SCV Water Agency, said: “Assuming it ran the entire 30 minutes, between 110,000-150,000 gallons (was released).”

Seven hours later, water crews found themselves on Valencia Boulevard near the 99 Cent Store.

“A 2-inch service line break was identified about 1:30 p.m.,” Martin said.

The breach shut off water to Harbor Freight Tools, 99 Cent Store and “other stores in the shopping center near the corner of Valencia and Cinema Drive,” she said.

It took about three hours to repair the broken pipe.

“The leak has been repaired and all service has been restored — except for Harbor Freight,” Alvord said at 4 p.m. “They need to make a final repair and then clean up, and they will be off the road in about another hour.”

Although the compromised section of pipe was made of PVC tubing, it was more than just a sprinkler head, Alvord said.

“This particular service lateral from the main to the meter is PVC, and it cracked,” he said.

“The actual cause of the crack is not known,” he said.

“As far as volume of water lost, a 2-inch line can flow upwards of 0.5 cubic feet per second and it ran for around one hour. Therefore we estimate the water loss at 10,000 to 15,000 gallons.”

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