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Water mains bursting as temperatures drop

What you can do to avoid seeing water pop through your road
Water main break
Posted at 11:22 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 07:20:00-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — Being greeted by a babbling street brook is not how Elizabeth Davidson wanted to start her Wednesday.

“First I saw this stream and I thought wow the snow is really melting today.” Davidson said. “I actually videotaped it and I’m like oh my gosh it’s coming from right in front of my house and it’s not like it’s a big pish, just a little tiny hairline fracture cracks with water coming out.”

She lives on Army Road, a dead end street on a hill in Towson.

There’s only one way out for Davidson and her neighbors, and it is getting icier by the minute because of the single digits temperatures and a water main break. She said water main breaks happen often on her street and it’s always dangerous.

She was forced to call police on Wednesday after sliding down the hill.

“That’s usually when I call 911 I’m like oh my gosh someone needs to get out here because it’s a dangerous situation.”

But this is just one break out of the 30+ the Baltimore Department of Public Works deals with in a day when the temperatures drop like this.

Jeffrey Raymond, the DPW Chief of Communications, advises people to help themselves and the workers braving the elements to fix the problems.

“On nights like this when it gets down approaching single digits or approaching single digits go to bed with a thin stream of water flowing through a faucet,” said Raymond. “That keeps the meter turning and the water flowing through the pipes and as we know moving water doesn’t freeze as quickly as still water.”

Over on Piccadilly Rd. in Towson, Sara Noon lost water for six hours because of a break.

“I had no idea about the water until I got from Yoga and I was all sticky and couldn’t take a shower so.”

For Noon a couple of hours without a warm shower didn’t close her heart to the people trying to fix the problems.

“Thank you to whoever the folks are that came out so quickly to fix it,” Noon said. “Again everyone was in the ditch in the mud and in the water digging.”

Raymond said that DPW has a 15 mile per year water main replacement and rehabilitation program. Adding that 15 miles is longer than the city is wide and that they are working diligently to reduce the problems that come with an aging infrastructure.

Last year DPW rolled out an interactive map where people can get updates on water main breaks from anywhere at any time.