Gushing groundwater swamps Southern California neighborhood

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) – Water has been gushing out of the ground in a Southern California neighborhood for days, forcing residents to use pumps, hoses and sandbags to divert flows away from their properties.

The flooding began Sunday in the city of Claremont’s Stone Canyon development, impacting more than two dozen homes, KABC-TV reported.

“We started gathering pumps. We started digging holes to create sumps for the water to go down into,” said resident Ken Larson told the station.

Claremont lies east of Los Angeles at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, which received a huge amount of rain and snow this winter. A group of groundwater basins called Six Basins lies below the mountains along with San Antonio Dam, which captures runoff from the range.

The city said in a letter sent to residents on Tuesday that “abnormal groundwater seepage” was occurring.

“In response, staff was informed that the Six Basins Water Master is conducting spreading operations to recharge the groundwater levels from what appears to be water released from the San Antonio Dam,” the letter said. “Army Corps of Engineers records for the San Antonio Dam show a water level decrease of 20 feet within the last 15 days.”

The city is providing building inspections and making sand and sandbags available to homeowners, public information officer Bevin Handel said in an email to The Associated Press.

Handel said agencies responsible for managing groundwater were analyzing the situation and have not indicated a single main reason for the seepage.

“There are several factors that seem to be at play that are affecting the groundwater levels – the release of water from the dam into the basins and spreading grounds, the spreading ground operations, melting snow pack, and heavy saturation in the ground from the many recent rains,” Handel wrote.

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