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Cleanup Continues After 130-Year-Old Water Main Breaks, Sends Water Gushing Down Street In Queen Village

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The cleanup continues Monday in Queen Village after a water main that dates back to the 1800s broke over the weekend. It sent water and mud gushing through the streets.

There is still this massive hole at the intersection of 6th and Bainbridge Streets.

The water department has been working around the clock to get the pipes fixed and get the intersection reopened. Meanwhile, residents are stuck with a major cleanup.

"The doorbell rang at 1 a.m. and we couldn't figure out what it could possibly be unless it was South Street kids," Queen Village resident Enid Krasner said.

It wasn't South Street kids who rang Enid Krasner's doorbell Sunday morning. It was the fire department alerting her that a 30-inch water main broke just steps from her house.

"It's not tragic. It's just a mess," Krasner said.

The break happened at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Video posted to Reddit shows water gushing out and flowing down the street.

"In my half-asleep state it was hard to wrap my head around what was happening and we went downstairs and it was just a tremendous amount of water from one side of the street to the next rushing down. It was pretty surreal," Queen Village resident Kerry Milch said.

"Lots of water. It was like rapids going down the street and it was up to the bumpers on cars," Krasner said.

After the water department was able to stop the water from flowing, what was left behind was a massive hole in the middle of 6th and Bainbridge Streets. There's also a muddy sludge throughout many of the streets and cars that were parked in unfortunate spots next to the break had to be towed away.

"It's city living. We're kind of used to this. It's not ideal, obviously," Milch said.

Resident Joseph Lipscomb says he got five inches of water in his basement.

"We used a dry vac, a huge dry vac and probably suctioned up maybe 50 huge containers of water," Lipscomb said.

The Philadelphia Water Company says the main was installed in 1891, making it 130 years old. They say about 15% of the city's water mains were laid before 1900.

"That's the problem in this city. The old infrastructure, the gas and water, and sewer. It's impossible to replace it and its 100s of years old," Queen Village resident Joseph Lipscomb said.

The water department says water service has been restored, PECO had to cut power to some buildings, including to Brendan Conklin's building.

"We don't have any power in my building since about 530 yesterday [Sunday] and we haven't gotten any indication on when we're going to get it back on yet. With the heat and everything, it's kind of stressful," resident Conklin said.

The water department says they'll be hiring crews to help homes and businesses get the water and mud out. For more information call the Philadelphia Water Department's customer service line at 215-685-6300.

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