New pipes installed at two water main break sites

City work crews have located, removed and replaced the old pipe that ruptured Monday and sent water cascading through several downtown streets, fully restoring service to the affected neighborhood.

By 9 a.m. Tuesday, a new 30-inch main had been installed, officials said. Testing of the new main lasted through the afternoon, an official said.


Repairs were completed Tuesday night, and service was fully restored to the local customers who had been without water service or had experienced low pressure through much of the day, said Tiffani Church, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Works.

The pipe at East Madison Street near Guilford Avenue broke shortly before 8 a.m. Monday and disrupted service to several homes and businesses in a 12-block area, including Mercy Hospital, Our Daily Bread and Center Stage. The pooling water shut down several streets.

Madison Avenue remained closed Tuesday night from Calvert Street to Guilford Avenue. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. crews also stayed on the scene to monitor a duct bank, which amalgamates wiring into underground arteries.

Officials did not have an estimate for when the road would be reopened.

The break caused water pressure to drop in many buildings downtown. Access to other buildings was blocked by muddy water pooling in front of or flowing past their entrances. Staff at Our Daily Bread had to close its public restrooms, which serve as many as 1,000 people a day.

While crews attempted to restore water, another smaller pipe broke Monday afternoon on Philadelphia Road near Rossville Boulevard in Essex. That break affected MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and closed the Community College of Baltimore's Essex campus. The city, which maintains the county's water lines, had restored service to most of those affected in the county by late Monday afternoon. Repairs were completed and service was fully restored early Tuesday.

On Monday, hospital staff had resorted to using bottled water and hand sanitizer, the community college canceled morning classes and local businesses shut down. A total of 60 homes and 15 businesses lost water and water pressure.

The cost of the repairs has yet to be determined, officials said.

Monday's breaks occurred within a week of a 60-inch main's rupture on North Charles Street at East 20th Street. The city continues to experience problems with its aging infrastructure. Its nearly 1,600 miles of water lines are 70 years old or older, and many have been in the ground for more than a century.