BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Crews are working around the clock to fix Baltimore’s breaking water mains, while homes take on water across the city.
It’s a race against the forecast. City leaders fear the next freeze could cripple even more systems.
As fast as they fix them, more water mains break. They say the freeze devastated pipe systems. The thaw-out is just as damaging. With more cold on the way, it could happen all over again.
Plastic garden hoses pumping through basement windows are about the only thing keeping homes in a East Baltimore neighborhood livable, at least for now.
“Our heats been out. Our hot waters been out. We’ve just been calling 311. They’re busy. We’re not getting no answers,” Baltimore resident Michael Jones said.
Jones and his 90-year-old grandmother have four feet of water in their basement.
DPW confirmed that a water main break is to blame.
Despite Jone’s best efforts, the the murky brown water just keeps rising.
“It’s taking out water, but the more we take out water, the more it comes back in. By the next morning it done rose back up high,” he said.
It’s the side effect of city systems crumbling underground.
“This is the impact when you have a system as old as our system is,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Workers promise help inside Baltimore’s emergency command center as crews scramble to make repairs to the more than 100 pipes that have failed in the new year.
With temperatures threatening to dip again, the city is bracing for more breaks.
“We’re going to try to get all these things done, as many as we can, in the next few days. Just try to get ahead of the next wave,” said Rudy Chow of DPW.
The mayor says the county is helping out by providing some crews.
Friday afternoon, the city had out about 30 teams of their own, with about five or six people per team.
DPW says crews are working 24/7 right now.