PA, Crafton residents: Third main break in 9 months : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

By Vince Guerrieri TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Crafton residents awakened by water gushing from a broken main early Wednesday morning said they're fed up with the recurring flooding that is destroying their property.

"It was like Niagara Falls here," said Rick Murrman, a Josephine Street resident who watched the water as it poured down the hill at 1:30 a.m.

Residents said yesterday's 12-inch water main break was the third one on the street, off Crafton Boulevard, in less than nine months - and the most serious. Water flooded garages and basements throughout the neighborhood.

Pennsylvania American Water Co. had not determined a cause of the break, which left between 20 and 30 houses without water and damaged six houses, company spokesman Phil Cynar said yesterday. Water service was returned at 2:15 p.m. yesterday.

Based on the break in the pipe, the rupture apparently was caused by a pressure surge, Cynar said.

Ginny Kennedy, who with her husband has lived on the corner of Josephine and Rodgers streets for 28 years, had just finished repairing the deck on the family's above-ground pool from the last break. She said they weren't prepared for another water main break.

"I thought we were good to go for another hundred years," she said.

The contents of the Kennedys' garage and game room were in the driveway drying off yesterday morning. Ginny Kennedy said the flooding never has been this bad.

Crews from Disaster Restoration Services hosed off the area around the Kennedys' pool, covered with rocks and gravel from the road, which had just been repaved in October. It had been patched repeatedly because of normal weather problems as well as the water breaks.

"They got so many patches here," Harry Kennedy said as he gestured to the street in front of his house. "I can't keep them straight."

Jim O'Connor and his wife, Frieda, have lived on Josephine Street for 37 years uphill from the latest main break. They had no water yesterday morning, but they said they were lucky.

"We're in good shape," said Jim O'Connor, who estimated the water pipes under Josephine Street are 100 years old. "We're just fed up with it."

Cynar, of Pennsylvania American Water, said he doesn't know the age of the pipes but said age isn't necessarily a factor in replacing pipes.

He said a pressure surge could result from a change in the water distribution system. He said slight changes, such as moving water to systems with higher needs, can cause the surge.

The suspected cause gave Crafton Councilman Ken Arbuckle a little consolation.

"We do have good pressure in these water lines," Arbuckle said as he surveyed the damage at the Kennedys' house.

Some residents, like Murrman, who has lived next door to the O'Connors for 13 years, said they don't trust the pipes.

"I wouldn't doubt if I see them (repair crews) here in another month," Murrman said.

Bill Milligan said water streamed into the basement of his Rodgers Street house, accumulating in the furnace and soaking rugs that his wife just had purchased.

He said he called the water company four times before workers arrived at 3:30 a.m.

Cynar said the water main was shut down about 4:30 a.m. He added that shutting down the system earlier could have led to other surges.

Cynar said he couldn't determine how much water spilled onto the street but characterized it as a substantial amount. He would not say how much money the water company has paid to residents for damages.

-- Doris (, June 22, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ