Repairs to burst Philadelphia water main to take months

Officials say repairs to a burst water main in Northeast Philadelphia are expected to take a few months.
December 24, 2013 3:18:36 PM PST
Officials say repairs to a burst water main in Northeast Philadelphia that prompted evacuations and school closures are expected to take a few months.

The Philadelphia Water Department said the break occurred shortly before 9 a.m. Monday on the 48-inch transmission main in the city's Frankford section.

On Tuesday, crews spent the day cleaning up and washing up.

That's only step one before they can even tackle the huge crater left behind in the middle of Frankford Avenue.

"The work involved is going to be removing all of the debris that's in there, getting the other utilities to repair their infrastructure and the water department repairs their infrastructure. Then the water main is approximately 20 feet deep, so there's going to be quite an effort to get down there," said John DiGuilio, Philadelphia Water Department.

For almost three hours Monday, 20 million gallons of water gushed from the ruptured main.

It happened right next door to this daycare center that had to be evacuated.

"So, it's approximately two feet about floor level inside the building," said Volodymyr Wayemchuk, building owner.

Most of the water is gone now, but it left behind a muddy mess and possible structural damage.

"Unfortunately this happened before Christmas but we thank God that everybody is alive and everybody is safe," said Wayemchuk.

Across the street, dozens of cars were underwater. Some are still filled with water.

City claims adjusters were in the neighborhood collecting damage information Tuesday.

However the City's liability for all of it is capped by state law at $500,000. That leaves the car dealership and others at the mercy of their insurance underwriters.

The damage claims will likely end up in court. However it will be months before life around here returns to normal.


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