Cherry Hill residents have water again 30-inch main broken Thursday is repaired

April 28, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Running water returned to the Cherry Hill neighborhood early yesterday, allowing residents once again to take showers, flush toilets and brush their teeth.

"I got up this morning and turned on the faucet out of habit, and there it was! Water!" said LaVonica Jackson of the 400 block of Seabury Road. "I was so excited."

By 4: 30 a.m. yesterday, workers from the city's Department of Public Works had fixed the broken water main that had left all of Cherry Hill with little or no running water Friday and lowered water pressure in nearby Brooklyn and Westport.

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The 30-inch main, near the south end of the Hanover Street Bridge, broke about 8 p.m. Thursday. The main feeds 12 smaller mains providing water to 12,000 residents and businesses in the area from Patapsco Avenue north to Waterview Avenue and from Hanover Street west to Russell Street. Six neighborhood schools were forced to close Friday.

Workers were replacing the electrical lines above the water main yesterday morning.

While area residents and business owners complained about the inconvenience of not having running water for a day and a half, most praised the city for its efforts to fix the problem -- from the workers who had been out all night to the distribution of free bottled water.

"It's the first time we felt like we were a priority in this city," said Wanda Grimes-Sutton, the mother of four and a resident of the 600 block of Hillview Road. "I was surprised.

"I really appreciated how they delivered some water to our block so we could take it door to door to the senior citizens," she said. "They couldn't carry the water back to their homes, so it was really nice that they helped out."

Geraldine Scott of the 2800 block of Carver Road, said: "There was nothing more they could do. It happens, and they came out and fixed it as quickly as they could."

But the broken water main also left some businesses reeling from the loss of customers -- particularly barber shops and hair salons that require running water.

"We can't cut hair if we can't wash it," said Delores Wallace, manager of Jamon Inc. in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road. She estimated that the beauty shop lost at least $1,000 Friday and more business yesterday from women who hadn't heard that running water was restored and had canceled their appointments.

At Harbor Hospital Center yesterday, workers flushed the pipes as a precaution -- even though the water never was considered to be hazardous -- and the staff planned to continue using bottled water for drinking until this morning, said Jon Wells, the hospital's director of facility operations.

The hospital's medical functions were unaffected by the water main break, but the reduced water pressure forced the hospital to send out its laundry and curtail some use of showers, Mr. Wells said.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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