By Pat Loeb


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Water Department is reporting a sharp increase in the number of water main breaks this month, and that’s leading to a backlog in taking reports and making repairs.

They’ve started, temporarily, taking service requests over social media.

Spokesman John DiGiulio recommends that customers use Facebook and Twitter, for the time being, to avoid hold times of two hours on the phone.

“We’re seeing a high volume of water main breaks, we’re seeing a high volume of customer service lines that are breaking,” he said.

And if you’re waiting two hours to report a break, you’re waiting a lot longer to get it fixed.

“We’re taking at least 24 hours to make an initial inspection. However, it could take several days from there, if not more, to see any repairs take place to a water main,” DiGiulio said.

DiGiulio says crews are working around the clock, but there’s been a 50 percent increase in breaks compared to last year at this time.

The department is prioritizing breaks that are causing property damage, but that means for those that aren’t “there could be water running a week before a repair crew gets on site,” said DiGiulio