The continuing problem of water main breaks in the municipal system hit close to home yesterday when a pipe burst at Fayette Street and Guilford Avenue, spilling water into the basement of Baltimore's City Hall.
Public works crews were working on about 45 "minor" breaks as the latest occurred downtown - in an 8-inch pipe, said Robert Murrow, a spokesman for the department.
A City Hall telephone operator said water service to the building had been cut off by the break, while workers outside were hampered by low temperatures.
"They are having a difficult time shutting [the pipe] down because the valves are freezing," Murrow said. Repairs could not begin until the valves were shut.
Meanwhile, at Willow Grove Park in Lansdowne in Baltimore County, repair work on a 54-inch water main that broke Saturday hit an unanticipated snag.
While installing a 20-foot section of pipe at the site yesterday, Murrow said, crews discovered cracks at another point in the water main - also part of the system operated by the city. As a result, a second section of pipe was ordered from a supplier in Florida. It is expected to arrive in Lansdowne today.
For residents and businesses in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties relying on the city network for water, the delay could mean at least another day of reduced water pressure.