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4 water main breaks in 24 hours in Baltimore area

Posted at 4:14 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 10:56:24-04

BALTIMORE — Approximately 1,000 people are without water in West Baltimore as crews work to fix a water main break at W. Baltimore Street and N. Schroeder St. It's at the juncture of two big mains so Baltimore City DPW crews had to make extensive shut offs.

It's one of four active water main breaks in the Baltimore area since Monday morning.

"All of the sudden, it was like a river. It just came on both properties, and it was just wooshing. It was unbelievable," said Overlea resident Lorie Kaiser.

She works in a building just down the street from the water main break on Belair Road near Taylor Avenue Monday afternoon.

"The basement got flooded. All the plants that we had over there got flooded," said Kaiser. "We have a lot of things on the ground, so we really weren't able to go in yet. We were waiting for the water to subside so we could go in and check everything."

The house next door under construction was damaged with a foot of water too. The 12-inch main that broke left dozens without water and damaged a gas line and storm drain. Residents got water back this morning.

Baltimore City DPW crews also fixed a water main break on York Road in Cockeysville Monday. Crews re-opened that area around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Another water main break yet to be addressed, sits on Hillen Street in downtown Baltimore because they are focusing on the break in West Baltimore.

"We seem to have had a cluster this week of some significant breaks," said Jeffrey Raymond with Baltimore City DPW. "We're starting to catch up with them, which is a good thing."

The breaks are a reminder of the aging infrastructure. Raymond said City DPW crews replace 15 miles of water mains every year, and they have a specific program that looks at the condition of water mains to try and be proactive in preventing breaks.

"We get a reading with what's going on with the pipe material itself and then our engineers can take that data and assess the condition of the pipe and rank it in order of what needs to be fixed first," said Raymond.

Soon they will get more funding because starting July 1, water bills increase by nearly 10 percent.

"We just have to get ahead of where we are. It's not just fixing the problems we know of but making sure we are going to be ready for the next 100 years," said Ryamond.

The impacted sections of Belair Road are still closed as Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration crews work to repave them. Officials hope to have the road re-opened by the Wednesday morning rush hour.

Baltimore City DPW crews hope to restore water later Tuesday night to all customers impacted by the West Baltimore main break, and then they will head over to fix the Hillen Street main break.