Another sinkhole leaves Northern Liberties residents with no water

NORTHERN LIBERTIES - December 16, 2013

Neighbors in Northern Liberties started recording video Monday as a geyser of water shot out of the newest sinkhole to open up in center of 900 North Randolph Street.

The stream of water pelted even the upper floor windows of Kate Somerville's rowhome.

"All of a sudden, I am seeing all this rain coming down my windows and it's not raining out," Somerville said.

The water froze to the small tree on her sidewalk.

Across the street, Carrie Hagen woke this morning with no water service.

She started calling the water department and described the new sinkhole, but she says for hours nobody showed up to help.

"So finally, I called 911. About a half hour later a police officer came out and said he was making it a city emergency," Hagen said.

This afternoon, the water stopped coming from the street and a water department inspection team arrived to take a look.

Neighbors on this block have watched a succession of sinkholes open up on the street in recent months, three since the end of May.

On December 5th, a sinkhole swallowed up a pickup truck.

Neighbors said they've never seen what amounted to any real repairs.

"Literally, nothing was done until I called today about this sinkhole. So part of me wonders, did this even need to happen?" Hagen said.

Then this afternoon, brown, murky water started pouring into Somerville's basement without explanation.

Neighbors are desperate for answers and their street to finally get fixed.

"I am feeling a little helpless. I believe they're going to do something eventually, but how much noise do you need to make? There's something really going on here," Somerville said.

Some neighbors tell Action News the city's sent them bills for thousands of dollars claiming this is a problem with the lateral lines running directly to their homes. But now some are beginning to wonder if it's a problem with the actual water main.

"Our biggest concern is that this appears this could be a failure of public infrastruction. We want the neighbors to be made whole as quickly as possible," Matt Ruben of the Norther Liberties Neighbors' Association said.

A crew from the water department arrived on the scene just after 6:00 p.m.

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