Watchdog: Water leak traps trash on Brooklyn street

August 06, 2011|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

The problem: A water leak persisted in Brooklyn, even though officials knew of the problem.

The back story: Richard C. Monk wasn't happy about the water.

For more than two weeks, the steady trickle from under the water meter cover in the 3700 block of Eighth St. in Brooklyn has been trapping trash and washing it down the sidewalk in front of a property he manages for a relative.

"It's kind of repugnant when the water comes down," Monk said. "There's a lot of debris that people throw down in that neighborhood, unfortunately."

Monk lives in Towson, so he couldn't call 311 directly. Instead, he called the emergency number listed on a water bill and was transferred to someone who knew about the problem.

The woman told him workers had gone to the site twice but were called off the job to respond to a more serious problem and that they would be back as soon as possible, Monk said.

He later called the mayor's office, where an aide said someone would investigate.

Watchdog contacted Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

This leak was not a problem with the meter but rather the connections that link the meter to the service line, he said.

"It's a simple repair, but it's not a meter repair," Kocher said.

He said the worker who first responded might have failed to create a new work order, leading to the delay.

Usually, if a problem turns out to be different from what was initially reported, the original request is closed out and a new ticket is created. DPW officials want to streamline the process to allow subtasks to be added so the original requests don't get closed until they are completed — even if they get reclassified along the way.

"These problems could be avoided if there was a smoother transition and a smoother handoff," Kocher said, and residents who call for an update can get a clearer picture of what's happening.

The repairs were completed Thursday, he said.

"It's always good when something doesn't get addressed just to follow up with us … so something doesn't get lost," Kocher said.

He reminded readers that they can call 410-396-5352 to reach Baltimore's call center when outside the city limits.

Who can fix this: Art Shapiro, chief of the maintenance division for the Department of Public Works' Bureau of Water and Wastewater, 410-396-7870. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

Need Help?

Is there something in your neighborhood that is not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by emailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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