www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/catonsville/ph-water-main-break-catonsville--20140313,0,1522430.story

baltimoresun.com

Crews working to repair Catonsville water main break, officials say

Approximately 300 residences without water

By Lauren Loricchio, lloricchio@tribune.com

6:30 PM EDT, March 14, 2014

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Some residents of the Kenwood Gardens condominium in Catonsville said they haven't been able to shower or flush their toilets since Wednesday afternoon.

Crews are working to fix a 12-inch water main break that has left about 300 residences in the Kenwood Gardens condominium and nearby homes along Wilkens Avenue between Kenwood Avenue and Fairway Avenue without water, according to Baltimore City officials.

Kenwood Gardens condominium residents say their water was shut off Wednesday about 3 p.m., when they heard a loud "boom."

"We heard a noise that sounded like an explosion and everyone came outside into the hallways," said Millie Yates, a resident who has lived at Kenwood Gardens for 10 years. "The power went out for about 20 minutes.

"It's been challenging and frustrating trying to keep everything going here," Yates said. "We're all working together here to make sure that everybody has water."

Many of the residents can't flush their toilets or shower, Yates said.

"We have a lot of elderly people here. Then we have people that have to go into work and they're frightened that they don't have water," said Gail Dawson, another resident of Kenwood Gardens.

Residents of the community expressed concern about when their water service will be restored.

Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for Baltimore City Department of Public Works, said they can't provide an estimate of when water service will be restored at this time.

The main is located near 5000 Wilkens Avenue in an area that a number of other utilities run through, Kocher said.

A large tree had to be cut down in order to fix the problem, he said.

The water issues caused University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Catonsville public schools to close Thursday.

Catonsville High School, Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies and Western School of Technology were closed because there was no water.

"In emergency situations like this, we don't have much of a choice but to close," said Charles Herndon, a spokesman for Baltimore County Public Schools, on Thursday.

"We've had so many days off due to the snow. Unfortunately this is another day they'll have to work around," Herndon said.

Students won't have to make up the school day, Herndon said. 

UMBC closed for students at 10 a.m. Thursday and for faculty and staff at 11 because of the campus-wide water issue, according to information posted on the school's website.

"The buildings on the higher levels of campus were already experiencing low pressure water problems early this morning. As time progressed, and water demand increased, pressure continued to diminish and buildings on lower levels began losing water service," said Rusty Postlewate, assistant vice president of Facilities Management at UMBC, in a campus statement.