UCLA Flood: Pipe Burst Cause Revealed

UCLA Flood - H 2014
AP Photo/Mike Meadows

Outdated practices played a role in the rupture of a nearly 100-year-old pipe that unleashed 20 million gallons of water in L.A. last week.

Corrosion and structural problems caused a pipe to burst that flooded a landmark athletic arena at the University of California, Los Angeles and submerged hundreds of cars, officials said on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said outdated welding and engineering practices also appeared to have played a role in the rupture of the nearly century-old steel pipe last week. It burst at a Y-shaped juncture installed in 1958.

The piping had not been scheduled for replacement and there were no signs of trouble before the break blasted a hole in Sunset Boulevard and sent a 30-foot geyser into the air that deluged the adjacent campus, said agency spokesman Joseph Ramallo.

The break released about 20 million gallons of water and the flood damaged the UCLA basketball team's famed home court, Pauley Pavilion, while trapping hundreds of cars parked in school garages.

UCLA released at least 340 of those vehicles on Tuesday, which could be picked up by their owners. The school arranged to have insurance adjusters on site to help with damage assessments. Many appeared to have significant damage from the flooding, including mired interiors.

They were among nearly 1,000 cars parked in two structures inundated on July 29 — the lower garage levels were submerged to the ceiling.

Sunset Boulevard reopened early on Monday when crews finished repaving the stretch adjacent to the campus where the rupture occurred.