Water pressure restored at Philadelphia Int'l Airport after main break

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

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A water main break at Philadelphia International Airport caused widespread problems Monday evening.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Airport officials said there was no water pressure throughout all of the airport's terminals.

Video from Chopper 6 HD showed a large water main break in the economy parking lot near Terminal E. Water could be seen gushing out from the pavement.

Officials said it was a 16-inch main that ruptured and caused significant water pressure issues throughout the terminals at the airport, including numerous public restrooms.

"What happens is you can't use it. They are all full, clogged up and full of paper towels," said Chris deVaney of Unionville, Pa. "I guess people tried to flush them and they wouldn't."

Airport patron Robert Scott wrote to 6abc.com detailing the conditions, saying liquid from the restrooms is spilling out into the main corridors:

"It's horrible here. Some restaurants are closed but others remain open. It's unsanitary and unsafe," he said.

In the interim, airport officials distributed hand sanitizers to all restrooms.

Announcements could be heard throughout the facility, alerting passengers to the water pressure problems.

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

After approximately three hours, the water department was able to shut down the ruptured line and reroute water to the airport through another main.

This is fortunate, as the water department says repairs could take some time.

"We have a lot of old mains in the system and we are trying our best to spend our repair money very wisely," said McCarty.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority towed a number of cars out of the area in order to facilitate repairing the main.

Vehicle owners are being asked to check with PPA to find out where they can retrieve their cars.


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