Businesses bounce back following Center City water main break

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The smell of natural gas lingered in the air as utility crews worked at Juniper and Sansom streets Wednesday.

Earlier, water department crews repaired an 8-inch distribution main that also broke when the 48-inch transmission main broke here early Tuesday morning, sending some 15 million gallons of water into the street.

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See Action Cam video of the damage caused by the Center City water main break on July 3, 2018.

The repair restored water to all the restaurants.

"That was the goal for today, to make sure that water was back on so now the businesses that were along there their water supply is back," said John DiGiulio of the Philadelphia Water Department.

But while the water is on, restaurants along Sansom still need to get the water out of their basements.

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Chopper 6 was over the major water main break in Center City on July 3, 2018.

Restoration teams were hard at work all along the block Wednesday afternoon.

"Clean up is underway," said DiGiulio. "Certainly, you see a lot of activity down Sansom Street. And cleanup will continue until hopefully everyone is back open as quickly as possible."

Talk about quickly, just 24 hours ago workers were pushing water out of El Vez and feverishly scrubbing away dirt and debris. On Wednesday, the place was not only open. It was packed.

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Drone 6 video of Center City water main break on July 3, 2018.

These diners at nearby Barbuzzo didn't even know what had happened.

"Well, there's construction happening. So I guess that makes sense but otherwise I wouldn't have known," said Ciara Powell of Fishtown.

So while some restaurants posted signs saying they're closed, others posted exactly the opposite. They want people to know they are open.

"Really from place to place affected people differently. Some have it really bad. Some didn't get any water damage. So we just need to come together and figure out how we can help the people that need some help," said Marcie Turney.

There is an effort underway to try to find employees of those restaurants most seriously affected temporary jobs until those places reopen.

The water department will have public relations and customer service reps out at 13th and Sansom streets Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

They said they are also hoping to get 13th street back open sometime Thursday.

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