What we learned from the water main break in Westwood

By all accounts, Westwood experienced a massive water main break yesterday. Reportedly, up to 10 million gallons of water was lost, as the ruptured line flooded Sunset Blvd as well as sections of the UCLA campus. People were trapped in their cars; students had to wade to class. It was perhaps the worst plumbing emergency we’ve seen in a long time.

While main breaks aren’t common, Los Angeles residents shouldn’t take them lightly. As evidenced in Westwood, they’re quite dramatic, causing damage and potential injury, not to mention a huge loss of water that California just can’t afford in this extreme drought.

The truth is that what happened yesterday could happen in your neighborhood, and to a lesser extent, your property. Don’t be caught off guard. Here are a few points you should know when it comes to the water mains around you.

Preventative maintenance

Big water mains service the entire community, while smaller lines run to each individual home and property. In newer areas, these lines are most likely more modern and stable. However, in older zones like the one near UCLA, the pipes have grown weaker with age. In fact, the line that burst was 93 years old, reportedly. In the right conditions, a pipe may last over a century. But typically over time they become subject to corrosion and debris.

If you think your personal or community lines may be vulnerable because of age (or whatever reason), call the best plumber Los Angeles has to offer. Ritz Plumbing can inspect the pipes to ensure they’re holding up, working properly, and if necessary, repair or replace the line. Our trained technicians will prevent a full-blown flood from inundating your neighborhood or home.

Alert a professional

If a flood does happen, it won’t be hard to miss. Bigger breaks will fill the streets and disrupt traffic. Residential lines, though smaller, can still wreak havoc in your yard and home. You’ll surely notice saturated water on your lawn, or maybe even flowing into your house.

Don’t try to solve the problem yourself. Immediately call a pro. For large-scale breaks, contact a government source like DWP. However, the more localized bursts can be directed to a plumber.

Emergency plan

Because earthquakes are a way of life, Californians are used to having a plan in place in case of an emergency. This same rule should apply to floods. While they may be rare, you don’t want to be ambushed by one. It’s a good idea to figure out what to do ahead of time. If your home becomes uninhabitable, set a meeting destination with your family at a remote location. Pick somewhere that’s close and easy to remember.

In the event that the streets outside are covered in water, making it unsafe to drive or walk, you may want to stay inside. The local utility may turn off the water or even cut the power, in which case keep a supply of flashlights and rations ready, since you don’t know when things will return to normal.