Burbank water main break causes second "sinkhole" in two months

A water main break on Sunday caused what the Burbank Police Department called a large sinkhole -- the second sinkhole in the city in the past two months.

The sinkhole at Winona Avenue and Brighton Street around 1:30 p.m. was caused by a crack in the pipe, said Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.

Though the police department initially expected street closures and repairs to last one to two days, crews repaired the pipe and streets were reopened about 12 hours later, Ryburn said.

This is the second "sinkhole" incident  in two months, with another occurrence also caused by a water main break sometime in November, he said.

The recent incident also  follows an early morning water main break on Dec. 7 at Olive Avenue and Niagara Street after a 6-inch cast-iron pipe burst underground, causing water to flood Niagara Street and flow toward Alameda Avenue, Ryburn said.

Though officials said the Dec. 7 water main break was likely caused by cold weather, Bill Mace, assistant general manager with the city’s Public Works Department, said location played a primary factor in Sunday’s incident.

“The colder water we received may have some effect in causing a stress or strain but the fact that there was a tree root running parallel underneath, it may be wrapped around the [water] main,” he said. “The location is definitely influenced by tree roots.”

Mace also referred to the sinkhole as more of a crater, which is usually caused by an unknown leak that carries supporting soil underneath.

Although he didn't have immediate figures available on how many water main breaks occurred in 2013, Mace said it wasn’t a common occurrence.

“Burbank has a very low incidence of water main breaks,” he said.

-- Sameea Kamal, sameea.kamal@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @SameeaKamal.


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