West Hollywood water main break gushes 9,600 gallons of water per minute

A water main break on a 36-inch pipe in West Hollywood on Friday afternoon sent torrents of muddy water down Sunset Strip, prompting a series of street closures as crews respond to the mess.

At its peak, the break was spewing 9,600 gallons of water per minute, said Michelle Vargas, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Water was shut off to the main around 6:10 p.m., according to the LADWP.

Streets are expected to reopen by Saturday morning, officials said.


The break near Sunset Boulevard and North Olive Drive occurred at 2:18 p.m., and authorities are still trying determine the extent of damage. Live aerial television news footage showed water overflowing storm drains along the Sunset Strip near the Comedy Store and House of Blues, and vehicles driving through pools of water.

“We are very relieved to know that there were no injuries reported and that damage, at this point, appears to be minimal,” West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico said in a statement. “Now, our focus is to begin clean-up and get traffic moving again while the LADWP assesses damage and moves forward with repairs.”

Road closures included Sunset Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and Sweetzer Avenue, and La Cienega between Fountain Avenue and Sunset.

Sunset Boulevard will remain closed to traffic between La Cienega and Crescent Heights boulevards until clean-up is completed, according to officials.


The steel main belongs to the LADWP.

As of 5:20 p.m., there were no reports of customers without water due to the break, but that may change as officials shut down the pipe for repairs, according to the LADWP.

The shutdown process is complicated as it involves approximately 15 valves that have to be hand-turned in a coordinated manner to isolate the pipe, according to the LADWP.

Authorities are asking people to avoid the area.


Crews will work through the evening to repair it, officials said.

The pipe with the break was installed in 1916, then cement-lined in 1957, according to the LADWP.

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