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Baltimore’s Aging Infrastructure Creates More Water Main Woes

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edgemere water main break
Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More breaks in an already fragile system.

Alex DeMetrick has the latest on a new water main break crews are working to repair.

From the big pipes to small, the city’s water supply continues to show its age.

The latest break hit overnight in Edgemere in Baltimore County.

Not a big water line. But enough for a neighborhood to wake up dry.

“Yeah, cause I don’t have no water to wash up and go to work with,” said Kenny Forsythe, of Edgemere.

Tuesday saw a similar break in Federal Hill, one of the communities that was already dealing with low water pressure.

“The toilet, the sink, the shower. It was all spilling out with dirty water. It affected us for sure,” said Michael Osmaksi, of Federal Hill.

The result of a major break near Dundalk on Monday of a three foot line, which affected neighborhoods from Canton to Cherry Hill. Here’s why:

“The 36 inch main itself is a transmission main,” said Kurt Kocher, Department of Public Works. “So it’s taking water from one area to another area, and the neighborhood is feeding directly off of that. But we had to shut down also to other valves in order to isolate that.”

Damage in big breaks almost always means local flooding and a messy cleanup. It also opens eyes to a resource we all need, running beneath our feet.

“It’s unbelievable that the water itself can break that ground up. And they said it was as high as those telephone poles,” said Rock Amoroso, A.J. Sackett and Sons.

“It would be nice if this didn’t happen, and I didn’t know it happened as frequently as it did. But now I do I guess,” said Josey Minteo, of Federal Hill.

And it’s not going to stop. Not with century old pipes carrying water more in demand than ever.

“You can’t just assume something’s in the ground and it’s going to last forever,” Kocher said.

There are major plans to replace aging water pipes. But it comes with major cost. Hundreds of millions of dollars.

Controversial increases in water bills will be the source for much of the funding needed for repairs and replacements.

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