Residents begin to clean up after water main break floods Philadelphia neighborhood

"It's one of the largest mains that the City of Philadelphia has," a fire official says.

By6abc Digital Staff, Katherine Scott, and Bryanna Gallagher WPVI logo
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Residents begin to clean up after water main break
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One day after a water main break sent water into the streets of Philadelphia's Kingsessing neighborhood, clean up was underway.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- One day after a 48-inch water main break sent roughly eight million gallons of water into the streets of Kingsessing, power washers blasted muddy sidewalks and restoration crews were working at homes.

The Philadelphia Fire Department received a call around 6:42 a.m. Wednesday of a transmission water main break at the intersection of 56th Street and Springfield Avenue.

Transmission mains are used to carry water to different parts of the city. This main was installed in 1921.

"It's one of the largest mains that the City of Philadelphia has," Philadelphia Fire Deputy Chief Kamau Bright said.

On Thursday, officials said their goal was to have engineers evaluate how the pipe broke, determine the extent of the damage and come up with a repair plan.

Neighbors along the block are still shocked about what they woke up to Wednesday morning.

"I was fixing breakfast and all of a sudden I heard something go boom. But not loud, just boom," described Atera Fountain, who lives near 56th and Springfield. "I looked up and down the street, and right here, water was bubbling up."

RELATED: Cleanup begins after 8 million gallons of water floods Philadelphia neighborhood

Nearby on Frazier, there was water in Angeline Christmas' basement. Christmas said her car, which was parked outside, is now stalling.

The Water Department was in her home, inspecting the basement as they went door to door.

Christmas and other neighbors said there has been various work done on nearby streets over the past several years and mentioned another smaller main break recently.

"What I don't like about the whole situation is that they're doing patch jobs. If you're going to patch something up and put a piece of tape or Band-Aid around it, it's not going to work," Christmas said.

Officials said the immediate priority was to help anyone who was dealing with flooding. Residents can contact PWD at (215) 685-6300.

"If there's anyone who has significant amounts of water in their basement that needs to be pumped out, we reach those people first," said Brian Rademaekers with the Philadelphia Water Department.

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Over the last 15 years, Philadelphia has averaged 776 breaks annually. As of Wednesday, an estimated 247 potential main breaks have been investigated or repaired since January 1, 2022.

The intersection will be closed for the foreseeable future, which for many means making alternate plans.

"I have to take my children to school now because the bus can't get up and down the street, and it's just a mess," Cook said.

The cause of the break is under investigation.

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