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Water Department Discusses Manayunk Water Main Break

The cause is unknown for the May 16 main rupture.

Water main breaks aren't uncommon for the Philadelphia Water Department. With 3,000 miles of water mains in the city, an 8-inch break, , causes headaches for businesses and residents. However, that's when the water department kicks it into gear to minimize the damage.

"We get crews out there as fast as possible and try to stop the water and aid those affected," PWD spokesperson Laura Copeland said Thursday morning.

The Manayunk break took nearly 11 hours for the situation to get under control. The incident started around 3 p.m. on the 4400 block of Main Street, in front of the and . The water flow ceased around 5 p.m., but it wasn't until 1:45 a.m. Thursday that water was restored.

So what caused the that closed Main Street from Green to Levering streets?

"A lot of time we never know what happened, and this is one of those cases. Unless it's something blatant, like someone crashing into a fire hydrant, it's tough to tell," she said.

To repair the break, crews shut off water on both the 4400 and 4300 blocks of Main Street—impacting about 20 to 25 commercial properties.

"We wanted to isolate the break so we had to shut off as few customers as we could," she said, adding the nature of the break made them widen who was impacted.

Claims adjusters were also on site to help clean up and replace anything damaged by the event.

With a massive water system under its care, Copeland said the water department is constantly performing maintenance. At any one time, she said there are roughly 200 projects going on in the city.

"We try to minimize things like this. We have an aggressive leak detection program, and we replace about 20 to 25 miles per year," she said. "It's a challenge to stay on top. Unfortunately, (water main breaks) do happen."

In Manayunk Thursday, but water department crews will finish up the cleanup. There are still some barriers in front of Ashes Cigars and some mud on the ground, but the street is mostly normal. Copeland said they'll work to install a new hydrant.

She encouraged residents to read www.phillywatersheds.org for more information.

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