Governor Wolf is asked to declare a disaster emergency for the burst Kingsessing water main

Two U.S. lawmakers on Friday urged Gov. Tom Wolf to declare a disaster emergency in Kingsessing and seek other local and federal funding to help residents recover from massive flooding caused by a major pipe rupture. of water this week, damaging homes and displacing several people.

In a letter to Wolf, Reps. Dwight Evans and Mary Gay Scanlon, both Democrats from southeastern Pennsylvania, wrote that “a prompt response is essential to provide support for Kingsessing and the families affected by this disaster. and asked the governor to consider “all necessary state and local tools” — including a possible state disaster proclamation — to help repair infrastructure damage and assist residents whose homes have been impacted. by floods.

» READ MORE: Massive water main break floods several blocks in Kingsessing, prompting evacuations

The century-old 48-inch water main burst early Wednesday morning at 56th Street and Springfield Avenue, sending water gushing through the neighborhood – rushing into basements, surrounding cars and the cracking asphalt, causing many homes to lose water and forcing more than a dozen schools to switch to virtual learning for the day. At least five people were evacuated from their homes.

Philadelphia, built on a 3,100 mile network of aging water infrastructure, is no stranger to pipe breaks. On average, the city experiences around 776 water main breaks a year, with large bursts like the one in Kingsessing occurring once or twice a year, a water department spokesman said.

And it can take months to repair major damage.

READ MORE: A 130-year-old Philadelphia water main burst in July, flooding Queen Village. Business owners are still waiting for repairs and reimbursement.

Citing reports that repairs to Queen Village are still underway and businesses remain unhindered after a 30-inch water main burst in July, Evans and Scanlon wrote they were ‘particularly concerned’ .

“A similar delay in response to the Kingsessing incident would have incredibly damaging effects both on the local community and on greater Philadelphia,” the letter states.

Lawmakers also said they were prepared to support federal emergency or disaster declarations and receive support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They also encouraged Wolf to consider applying for assistance from the Small Business Administration to help businesses and homeowners with loans for their uninsured expenses and losses.

A spokesperson for Wolf’s office said in a statement Saturday that the administration is “reviewing the circumstances to determine appropriate next steps,” adding that the office “appreciates the representatives’ outreach on behalf of the community, which no doubt a terrible ordeal”.

Last year, following historic flooding in Bucks, Philadelphia and Tioga counties, Wolf asked FEMA to lower federal damage assessment thresholds needed to qualify for federal assistance.

The cause of the breakup at Kingsessing has yet to be determined.

» READ MORE: Photos of the massive Kingsessing water main rupture

Any customers who think their water service was affected by Wednesday’s hiatus should call 215-685-6300, the water department said.

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