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UCLA officials demand $13M for damages from 2014 summer flood

Last summer, a water main burst underneath Sunset Boulevard, releasing about 20 million gallons of water and flooding Bruin Walk, Pauley Pavilion and Parking Structures 4 and 7. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Roberto Luna Jr.

July 9, 2015 8:08 p.m.

This post was updated on July 10 at 10:54 a.m.

UCLA officials are demanding $13 million from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to pay for damages caused by the Sunset Boulevard water main break last summer.

The flood that resulted damaged five non-academic buildings, athletic fields and two underground parking garages.

UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said university officials submitted a preliminary claim Thursday to the LADWP, which had previously acknowledged its responsibility to reimburse UCLA for losses.

The LADWP is currently reviewing UCLA’s claim and expects the matter to be resolved by the end of the year without needing to go to court, said Christal Chacon, an LADWP spokeswoman.

The LADWP’s insurance policy has a $3 million deductible for each flooding incident to cover any damages or losses, which includes some of the damages UCLA claimed.

On July 29 last year, a more than 90-year-old steel-riveted pipe burst underneath Sunset Boulevard, releasing about 20 million gallons of water and flooding Bruin Walk, Pauley Pavilion and Parking Structures 4 and 7. More than 700 cars, more than half of them belonging to students, were trapped in the structures.

Workers were able to refurbish Pauley Pavilion’s court by the end of last October. The UCLA women’s volleyball team played their home games at Pepperdine University, but renovations did not affect men’s or women’s basketball teams’ schedules.

In an October interview with the Daily Bruin editorial board, Chancellor Gene Block said a top LADWP official called him shortly after the flood, apologizing and saying the utility was responsible for the damage.

The flood raised concerns about the city’s aging infrastructure and the damage they can cause when they’re not maintained.

Early Thursday, two water mains broke underneath Melrose Avenue near Hollywood: an 8-inch pipe on Gower Street and a 12-inch pipe on Vermont Avenue. A 36-inch water main also burst in Lake View Terrace in the San Fernando Valley.

LADWP officials are seeking to increase the utility’s rates by 2.4 percent for low-use customers and 5.4 percent for high-use customers each year for five years, raising the typical customer’s bill by $4.75 each year, to respond to aging pipes. Officials said about 85 percent of the revenue coming from the increased rates would go to infrastructure repairs.

Compiled by Roberto Luna Jr., Bruin senior staff.

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Roberto Luna Jr. | News senior staff
Roberto Luna Jr. is currently a senior staffer covering Westwood, crime and transportation. He was previously an assistant News editor from 2015-2016 and a News contributor from 2014-2015.
Roberto Luna Jr. is currently a senior staffer covering Westwood, crime and transportation. He was previously an assistant News editor from 2015-2016 and a News contributor from 2014-2015.
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