Sinkhole neighbors to get gas Sunday, maybe water by midweek

The Philadelphia Water Department is addressing neighbors in Fishtown -- literally -- near the Boston Street sinkhole that swallowed up two cars, almost a week ago.

It's a letter being personally delivered with a timetable, as to when they'll get water and gas service in their homes back. (Read it below.)

Gas should return by the end of the weekend, which is sooner than expected.

"We were able to coordinate with PGW to allow them to restore the gas main and services on Sunday," wrote John DiGiulio, the water department's community relations manager. "Once PGW finishes, PWD will then work on restoring the water main."

Then, the water main will be replaced on Tuesday "if the weather cooperates and PGW repairs go smoothly."

Wednesday, damaged service lines should be replaced with new service lines.

Last will be restoring the street.

Last Sunday's major water main break in the 2300 block of E. Boston Street affected about 20 homes and definitely two cars.

Authorities said a sewer line likely eroded over time and sprung a leak, which shifted the ground, causing the water main to break.

This is the entire letter:


Dear Resident:

I'm writing to give you the most recent information on the work that will take place this weekend and into next week to restore water and gas service on the block, as well as filling in the cave in on your block.

This week, our contractor excavated further, and crews inspected the sewer in the impacted area. The sewer has been found to be in good condition, with some minor defects which have been repaired. In addition, damaged property laterals have been replaced. The contractor will remain on site Saturday and Monday to finish any remaining work that needs to be completed to allow PGW and PWD access to repair the gas and water mains respectively.

The previous schedule we wrote to you indicated that PGW would return last to restore gas service. However, we were able to coordinate with PGW to allow them to restore the gas main and services on Sunday so that homes will have gas service again. Once PGW finishes, PWD will then work on restoring the water main.

On Monday, the contractor will continue to backfill and bring the street to grade with stone. If the weather cooperates and PGW repairs go smoothly, PWD will return with our distribution crews on Tuesday to replace the water main. On Tuesday, we will again have to shut the water main down until repairs are made, so the hours will likely not reflect what was standard this week, and may go well beyond the 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. period. I would ask all of you that currently have water to take your showers the night before and store some water for drinking/cooking if necessary for the day on Tuesday, and to repeat that process for Wednesday.

On Wednesday, plumbers will be on site replacing damaged service lines with new service lines and by Wednesday night at the earliest, some customers should have water service restored. The process can take some time, and all homes may not be back in service on Wednesday, but we will do the best we can to restore as many homes as possible before the day ends.

The last step in the process will be street restoration, but that information will come in a separate letter as this schedule will be dictated by weather and our progress on the above items.

Again, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to repair the damaged infrastructure as a result of this sewer failure and water main break. We understand that something like this is difficult under any circumstance, and we will work with you to explain each step in the process. We are also greatly appreciative of the patience and support that residents of this block have already displayed under these difficult circumstances.

I know I have spoken to several of you via email or text as well as in person, and I will continue to keep you up to date and informed as each step progresses. If possible, I'd greatly appreciate all residents email addresses so that I can also email updates as new information becomes available.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

John DiGiulio
Community Relations Manager
Philadelphia Water Department