Philadelphia facing backlog of water main breaks

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Philadelphia facing backlog of water main breaks. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at 4pm on January 8, 2018. (WPVI)

The deep freeze this winter has taken a toll on water mains across Philadelphia.

The city's water department is now facing a backlog of jobs, and are asking the public for patience.

One of the latest breaks happened Monday morning along Martin Street in Manayunk during below-freezing temperatures.

"I do not believe it was ever this cold for this long and I'm 78. Oh good Lord deliver me!" said Laurel Enters.



We found at least one neighbor with a basement that was beginning to flood.

"I'm a little nervous that it may get worse," said Caitlin Mahoney.

Neighbors say it happened between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

"I called 911 and they said they'd have someone out here right away and nothing has happened so far," said Mahoney.

Crews arrived shortly after 10 a.m. Spokesman John DiGulio said the department is as busy as it has ever been.


"We have seen at least 20 water main breaks a day that we're repairing, sometimes going into the following day with a backlog of 10 behind," DiGulio said.

He wants to assure customers all across the city that crews are working as quickly as they can, but it may take a while with such high volume.

"Typically in the winter, we go to a 12-hour shift. Right now we're on a 16-hour shift. It doesn't even mean they're done in 16 hours," DiGulio said.

He also adds warmer temperatures expected later this week could reveal even more water main breaks.

"So the ground is pretty much frozen solid. As the ground thaws there could be some water main breaks that are broken underground that we simply haven't seen yet," said DiGulio. "We ask for patience and understanding from our customers."

DiGilio acknowledged a lot of customers have lost water to their homes because of all of this, but he says they have prioritize.

First water mains needs to be fixed, then they can get to individual homes.

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