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‘It looked like a river’

Water main break floods Castaic street

Posted: September 9, 2008 8:44 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Employees with R.C. Becker and Son Construction Co. help clean up damaged asphalt on Lassen Street in Castaic Wednesday after an underground water main burst, opening up a sinkhole and flooding the residential street.

Castaic residents were startled awake early Tuesday when a main ruptured under Lassen Street, sending a gyser of water into the air and opening a sinkhole that threatened to swallow a Honda.

"The water was gushing down the street. It looked like a river," said resident Frank Koga, who moved his car just in time.

"It could have been the soil shifting or earthquake activity that caused the pipe to break," said Michael Smith, foreman for Staats Construction, which was called to the scene to repair the water main break.
Thirty-five customers were left without water after the underground rupture at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Bob DiPrimio, president of Valencia Water Company.

It took water crews 30 minutes to arrive on scene and a hour before they could turn off the water flow, he said.

Cause of the rupture was under investigation, but DiPrimio said the pipe fractured at the joint between two large sections.

Koga said his Element was parked in front of his home on Lassen Street when the flood began as a mere trickle.

"It started out as a small hole under my car with water trickling out," he said.

Luckily, Koga moved his car right away. Five minutes afterward, the manhole-cover-sized hole grew to a sinkhole about 60 feet by 20 feet.

The water didn't damage homes, but it did significant damage to the street itself, said Matias Madrigal, foreman for R.C. Becker and Son Construction. The company was contracted by Valencia Water to repair the street.

Paving was scheduled for today and the street should be open to traffic by the end of the work day, DiPrimio said.

The broken water main wasn't bad news for everyone on Lassen Street. Koga's son, 10-year-old Trent Koga, wore a bright smile as he watched crews repairing the water main.

"I didn't have to go to school today," the youngster said.

Without water the Kogas couldn't take showers, and the work crews blocking the driveway meant Frank Koga couldn't get to work and Trent Koga couldn't go to school.

Water service was gradually returned to Lassen Street residents Tuesday afternoon.


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