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48-Inch Water Main Break In West Kensington

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By Al Novack, Steve Beck, Nicole Brewer, Mike DeNardo, Anne-Marie Green

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Water department crews have shut down a 48-inch water transmission main that flooded the streets of a Philadelphia neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

The water main break happened at about 7 a.m. at the intersection of Front and Tioga Streets in the city’s West Kensington section.

Chopper 3 HD was over the scene where it showed water pouring from the break and flowing down Front Street. For nearly an hour, the water turned the streets into a river, leaving many cars under water.

Philadelphia firefighters were seen going door-to-door alerting residents of the situation.

“I saw water coming towards this way and I thought, ‘Oh my god, the tsunami’s here,’” said Crystal LaTorre, one of the residents near the break.

Six homes had to have water pumped out of their basements.

The water has since subsided.

The water department is hoping to make repairs that should be completed by the end of the day, but they say it will be several weeks before the intersection is fixed.

According to water department spokesperson Don DiJulio, no customers are without water service.

Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug said the city has had a leak detection program, but this one wasn’t on the radar.

“We’re aggressively looking for leaks and finding them and fixing them. This one became an emergency before we were able to identify it as a priority. We’re here now and we’re fixing it and doing everything we can to bring it back to normal operating condition,” explained Neukrug.

“We have about 20 miles of pipes that we are looking to replace this coming year and we know where those locations are that we’re going to be replacing the pipes, they’re all over the city of Philadelphia,” he further explained.

Eyewitness News learned that this particular pipe was about 100-years-old, the same age and width as the pipe that broke in South Philadelphia, and that road construction was being done at the time of the break and it is possible the workers struck the main.

Wednesday’s water main break is the third water main break in Philadelphia in the past 10 days. On July 22nd, there was a water main break in South Philadelphia and on July 30th, there was another break in Northeast Philadelphia.

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