Center City Water Main Break Repairs Could Last Months

The area surrounding Sansom and Juniper streets, the wellspring of the flood, is a muddy mess — and officials say it could take months to repair a massive sinkhole there.

Photo by Fabiola Cineas.

Philadelphia officials say it could take months for the city to finish replacing the 48-inch water main that burst and unleashed a flood in Center City on Tuesday. reports that the intersection where the main broke — Sansom and Juniper streets — will remain closed for months as a massive sink hole there is repaired.

More than 15 million gallons of water gushed from the water main in the hours after it broke open around 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning, knocking out electricity and water to surrounding businesses and residents, and lowering water pressure for others in nearby neighborhoods.

Flooding was reported from Walnut to Sansom streets and Broad to 9th streets. Several roads closed, and bus detours were put in place. It took more than three hours for the Water Department to stop the powerful flow of water.

The cause of the water main break is still under investigation. Officials are reportedly looking into nearby construction and the heat wave as possible offenders.

The cost of damage that resulted from the break is also still unclear. Property owners who were affected can file a claim with the city’s Office of Risk Management by calling 215-683-1730 or filling out this claim form. The claim form must be received by the ORM (located at 1515 Arch Street, on the 14th Floor) within six months of the date of the incident. But be warned: The city’s liability is limited to up to $500,000 for the entire incident.

For now, Philly’s not looking it’s best in that area. The streets are filled with mud and sediment, and some businesses are still working to open their doors again. To help, the Philadelphia Water Department set up an information tent at 13th and Sansom streets around noon on Thursday.

Crews were also working to reopen 13th Street from Walnut to Chestnut on Thursday. Sansom Street remains closed from 13th to Broad Street.