City to pay $1.2M to La Jolla couple

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LA JOLLA, Calif. – The San Diego City Council Tuesday approved a $1.2 million settlement for a La Jolla couple whose home was damaged by a series of water main ruptures.

The money, to be split between Chad Farmer and Jami Glasman and their insurance carrier, was in relation to damage from a series of water main breaks in 2013.

The three pipe bursts happened within 30 days in the neighborhood of Country Club Drive in October and November of 2013.

The couple was not available for comment.

“I couldn’t actually get to my house, I had to climb over a fence,” said neighbor Ximena Avalos.

One year ago, Avalos’s neighborhood turned into a giant lake. An 18-inch pipe broke causing the enormous Birdland break on Sept. 3.

Avalos was lucky to not suffer any losses, but her neighbors were not.

“They actually lost a lot…I think there was a couple of cars damaged and stuff,” Avalos said.

San Diego has had its share of water main breaks. In 2014, there were 73 water main breaks.

Since March 31 of this year, 54 breaks have been reported. Of those breaks, seven claims were filed for various incidents. The city has a contractor on call who has responded to six of those incidents, totaling just under $80,000 in payouts.

However, none of the claims were paid to homeowners.

The pipes blamed for the breaks are the old cast iron mains that are part of the city’s original infrastructure.

Plans are to replace smaller pipes by 2017 and larger ones by 2023.

“The $1.2 settlement is why I believe the old iron mains must be replaced on an accelerated schedule,” said Mark Kersey, city councilman for District 5.

According to the Risk Management Department, the La Jolla settlement is one of the largest sums paid out by the city relating to water main breaks.

Avalos said there are better ways to solve the problem.

“Just a lot of money spent and energy, energy that should be put towards the main breaks rather than suing the city,” Avalos said.

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