UCLA campus begins drying out, assessing damage from water main break

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AP Photo/Matt Hamilton

A worker clears water from the lobby floor of Pauley Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball, after a 30-inch water main burst on nearby Sunset Boulevard Tuesday.

Campus crews and contractors worked throughout the night to remove water from UCLA buildings and clear debris from areas affected by Tuesday’s water main break on Sunset Boulevard.

Large blowers have been brought into Pauley Pavilion, the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, J.D. Morgan Center, and John Wooden Center. “We’re in the drying phase now,” Kelly Schmader, assistant vice chancellor for facilities management, said at a morning press conference.

Schmader said standing water was still being pumped from parking structures 4 and 7. More than 700 students, faculty, staff and visitors have registered online to indicate their vehicles are in those structures. Of those, Schmader estimated about half had been fully submerged.

Campus officials asked vehicle owners to stay clear of the parking structures and not attempt to have their vehicles towed. More information on plans to remove vehicles was expected in 24 hours.


Schmader said power was out in the Ashe and Wooden centers because their electrical transformers, located in structure 4, were damaged.

At one point, Pauley Pavilion had about 8-10 inches of water on the arena playing surface, Schmader said, and there has been some buckling. “If we can save it, that will be a priority,” he said.

A campuswide damage assessment will be conducted after buildings are dried and debris removed, officials said.

At the morning press conference, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman told reporters that the ruptured water main cannot be replaced until leaking valves are repaired. The spokesman said the water main would not be replaced today but would not offer an estimated timetable.

Relatively small amounts of water continued to flow from the sinkhole but were not causing problems on campus. Sunset Boulevard was to remain closed while the sinkhole is repaired. A city transportation official urged drivers to avoid the area, use alternate routes and telecommute.

The campus opened as scheduled Wednesday. "Buildings and operations related to our academic enterprise, residence halls and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have been unaffected," Chancellor Gene Block said in a message to the campus community on Tuesday night. "The campus will remain open and classes will be held on Wednesday; however, UCLA summer camps and the Fernald and Krieger child care centers will be closed."

The 30-inch water main, a 93-year-old steel pipe carrying water under pressure from the city's Stone Canyon Reservoir, broke at 3:39 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. An estimated 8 to 10 million gallons of water flowed toward the campus or into storm drains. UCLA's intramural field, North Athletic Field and Drake Stadium — where a new blue and gold track was recently installed — were quickly inundated. Water spilled into underground parking structures 4 and 7 and pooled in Bruin Plaza before the leak was turned off.

Media Contact

  • UCLA Flooding_News (3)

    A worker clears water from the lobby floor of Pauley Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball, after a 30-inch water main ...

    AP Photo/Matt Hamilton

  • UCLA Flooding stairs to parking

    People walk down a stairway leading to a parking structure across from Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus after ...

    AP Photo/Mike Meadows

  • UCLA Flooding Pauley court

    Water covers the playing floor of Pauley Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball, after a 30-inch water main burst on nearby ...

    AP Photo/Matt Hamilton

  • UCLA Flooding stairwell

    Workers walk down stairs to a parking structure as water cascades down on them after flooding from a broken 30-inch ...

    AP Photo/Mike Meadows

  • UCLA Flooding car rescue

    A Los Angeles firefighter helps a driver whose car became stranded on Sunset Boulevard after a 30-inch water main broke.

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