By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While the bitter cold has slammed the Baltimore area, it’s the aging infrastructure that’s bearing the brunt of it.

From Canton to the other side of the city, one water main break and frozen service line after the other.

Since last week, the Department of Public Works has fixed hundreds of breaks across the area.

“My folks are working 12-hour shifts, mandatory 12-hour shifts now,” Rudolph Chow of DPW said. “In essence, we are working around the clock, 24/7.”

But it’s far more than detours. A water main break off Washington Boulevard is forcing some businesses to close and sticking homeowners right in the thick of it.

“How would they feel if their family members went without water? We’re literally sitting in here stuck,” said homeowner Ashley Weathers.

She says she has been without water for two days.

“It’s a nightmare. It’s very, very stressful,” Weathers said.

Her daughters and nieces had to resort to filling up buckets of water just to use the bathroom. Weathers says the family has been forced to go to a hotel.

“It’s just a mess. We’re not able to wash up, were not able to use the bathroom. I had to rent a hotel room last night so me and my kids were able to wash up just so they can get to school.

While many will be thrilled to see warmer temperatures at the end of the week, it could mean even more problems until the weather stabilizes.

“I’m bracing for additional breaks because as the ground thaws, the movement in the earth and the ground will put additional stress on the pipe,” Chow said.

DPW says a lot of the frozen service lines could have been prevented if residents let a thin stream of water flow in their lowest faucet. The department has a real-time map of water main breaks throughout the city.

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