Main Street reopens after water main break, PWD crews continue to clean up

The second round of clean-up has begun along Main Street in Manayunk after an eight-inch water main break left a portion of the street underwater yesterday.

Bob Smith with the Delaware County Restoration Company said he’s dealt with a lot of flooding calls over the years but this one was “major.”

“It was a madhouse over here – cops, water company, gas company, camera crews… everyone was here,” he said.

Smith and his crew of 12 were on site yesterday pumping out the shared basement of eight commercial properties until about 10:30 p.m. Laura Copeland, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Water Department, says the water was restored to the area at 1:45 a.m.

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“Now we gotta do the final cleanup on this side of the street, then we’ll go across the street to do the same thing at the firehouse, and then at the cigar shop we gotta pick up his hardwood floor which we started last night,” said Smith.

He said Ashes Cigars received the brunt of the damage from yesterday’s flood and will likely be closed for a few weeks while the floor is ripped up and replaced.

“The floor is glued on concrete so this week will be spent getting the floor up,” Smith said. “Inch by inch, hammer and chisel, it’s unbelievable.”

The impacted businesses include Ashes Cigars, U.S. Hotel, Main Street Music, Mama’s Pizzeria and Dice’s Deli, among others.

“It was actually shaping up to be a great afternoon after the rain [yesterday],” said Craig Dice, co-owner of Dice’s Deli. “One minute I looked up and everything was fine and the next minute there’s a significant volume of water surging in our direction, so it was surreal.”

The water main broke in front of Ashes Cigars at 4400 Main Street.

“We saw the sidealk buckle a little bit, we didn’t hear any noise but then next thing you know, the water was just pumping out of the street.”

The initial surge of water made its way into his shop’s basement and main floor but, after that, the stream proceeded to run downhill down Main Street and avoided his door.

Lien Nguyen of Euphoria Nail Bar said her shop also lucked out in terms of water damage but the flooding did end up hurting business. 

“We lost a lot of customers, some canceled and some walked by wanting a pedicure but the water was shut off,” said Nguyen.

Dice says many of the business owners were outside helping to barricade each other’s doors with newspapers and anything they could find to divert the water yesterday afternoon.

It was a change of pace for the businesses on the west side of Manayunk’s Main Street.

“The history of Manayunk is that the water usually floods on the other side of the block,” Dice said. “I guess this is our turn to get wet.”

Philadelphia Water Department crews are on Main Street this morning cleaning up and reinstalling the hydrant in front of Ashes Cigars.

Copeland says the cause of the water main break is still undetermined and will likely stay that way. She says it’s tough to determine the cause of these incidents unless there’s a record or evidence of someone running into the actual hydrant.  

The road was re-opened to traffic early this morning.

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