Cleanup, repairs underway at Philadelphia Int'l Airport after water main break

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On Tuesday morning the draining, digging and drilling got underway, one day after a 16" water main ruptured, causing a dip in the water pressure for several hours inside Philadelphia International Airport.

"I just flew for three hours, and I can't go to the bathroom," one traveler told Action News.

But the more costly and disruptive issue was outside, at sections H-13 and H-14 in the economy parking lot.

Chopper 6 hovered over the muddy scene as an estimated 4 million gallons of water gushed out of the crumbling asphalt which eventually became a sinkhole.

The location of the water main break made it incredibly difficult for the Philadelphia Water Department to locate the valve.

"There are a couple of mains that come through here, so we had to figure out what main it was on," said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty. "And then we had to locate the valves, which was a challenge in a parking lot."

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Vehicles towed, parking lot damaged at airport. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News Mornings on May 8, 2018.

The water has been re-routed while crews work on repairs at the site of the break. To make way for the repairs the Philadelphia Parking Authority towed 28 cars, relocating them to a far corner of the lot.

Tuesday morning, employees ensured no one else parked in the area and were also waiting on arriving passengers who would eventually come looking for their already towed cars.

Signs instructed those drivers to call and ask for an escort to their vehicles.

"I would hate to come back and have my car towed and not be able to get to where I have to go," said Dominic Palazzolo of Medford Lakes, N.J. "I just hope the airport takes care of everybody that had to be towed and inconvenienced by this."

Arriving home from Atlanta, Shelby Pettis and her family found their car about to be towed. They moved to retrieve it, taking in the scene. Their Honda SUV was parked just a few spaces from the large hole.

"We were blessed given that we were just a few feet away," she said. "This is amazing! That hole is big."

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