Ruptured DWP Tank Spawns a River of Mud

Times Staff Writer

Thousands of gallons of water gushed from a crack in a Department of Water and Power storage tank in the Mar Vista area of West Los Angeles early Wednesday, creating a rushing rivulet of mud and gravel and causing the temporary evacuation of one home.

A crack in the concrete tank’s floor caused the leak, DWP officials said.

“Initially it was believed that a broken valve was the cause of the problem,” DWP Assistant Gen. Mgr. Duane L. Georgeson said. “The break was discovered after the tank was emptied.”

Water seeped from the tank at the rate of 1,000 gallons a minute, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said. He estimated that the 1.8 million gallon tank at Grandview Avenue and Palms Boulevard contained 850,000 gallons when it sprang the leak at about 4:30 a.m.

No injuries were reported, and officials had no immediate estimate of damage to the tank or to nearby homes.


Water spilling from the tank’s east side, created a waterfall down an ivy-covered embankment and cut a trench nearly a foot deep in an unpaved alley.

Firefighters diverted the flow west onto Charnock Road and then back to Grandview, where it lapped over a curb as it rushed over a quarter-mile downhill to Venice Boulevard and into storm drains.

“The water just kept coming,” said Genevieve Horton, who lives next to the tank on Grandview.

Horton had awakened to find her carpets wet, she said, and went outside to find that a waterfall was pouring over a retaining wall between her property.

Water stood three-feet deep on her patio until firefighters diverted it to an alley, she said, adding that she and her son, Kevin, were evacuated for approximately four hours until firefighters determined that it was safe to return.

Hillary Klein, who lives across an alley from the tank, said the water sounded “like I lived in the country by a creek or something. There was a waterfall coming down the alley.”