Councilwoman wants to remove Philly liability cap from water main breaks

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 A water main is replaced at 21st and Bainbridge streets in 2012 (NewsWorks file photo)

A water main is replaced at 21st and Bainbridge streets in 2012 (NewsWorks file photo)

Philadelphia is considering whether to eliminate the cap on how much the city is liable when a water main breaks.

The idea is now in limbo in City Council for now.

After a water main broke at 52nd and Wyalusing streets in June, the damage exceeded Philadelphia’s liability limit of $500,000.

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell says that not fair to homeowners since claims above the cap do not get paid.

“We had a senior in her 80’s who didn’t have steps that took her to her basement” and so couldn’t easily get the water out said Blackwell.   “So the issue is that it’s the city’s responsibility, the water department and the city to make sure they take care of people who pay taxes and people who elect all of us.”

With Philadelphia’s infrastructure old and crumbling in places, city officials say they are constantly fixing issues and are doing it as fast as they can.

Councilwoman Blackwell says if affected residents are not made whole in a month, she will press forward with her bill.

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