Center City water main break aftermath: A few buildings still lack power, months of work ahead

A handful of buildings remain without power following last week’s water main break in Center City that flooded streets and nearby businesses.

Service to 1330 Chestnut St. and 123 S. Broad St., two Peco customers that had been lacking electricity, was restored Wednesday, said Kristina Pappas, a Peco spokesperson. Four other buildings must complete cleanup efforts before Peco can begin its work.

Nearly 15 million gallons of water spewed from the nearly century-old 48-inch main at Juniper and Sansom Streets on July 3. The main break initially knocked out power to hundreds.

>> READ MORE: Recent 48-inch water main breaks in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Building at 1315 Walnut St. is no longer operating on emergency generators, though “power is not back to 100 percent,” said Monica Quiñonez, a spokesperson for Goldman Properties. The building is expected to reopen to its 90 tenants later this week.

“Our team, both operations and security, has been on the ground since day one working diligently to mitigate the damage and ensure our tenants’ safety,” she said in a statement.

Optimal Sport 1315, located in that building, shared a photo on social media of a new water pump that was being installed.

The new water pump for the fire system for the building just arrived! Install happening now! One more major step! 🙏🏼👍🏼💪🏽✅

Posted by Optimal Sport 1315 on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The high-rise known as the Wells Fargo building at 123 S. Broad has reopened to its about 65 tenants, with the help of generators that were turned on Sunday, said Greg Muller, a partner at SSH Real Estate. Muller called damage from the break “extensive.”

John DiGiulio, a Water Department spokesperson, said full cleanup and repairs are expected to take “several months.” The department is continuing to work with businesses that want to file claims with the city.

Sansom from 13th Street to Broad  and Juniper from Chestnut to Walnut will be closed for the “foreseeable future” while crews work in the area, he said.

DiGiulio said the department was also working with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to determine alternative delivery locations for businesses affected by road closures.

Any property owner who sustained damage can file a claim with the city by calling the Office of Risk Management at 215-683-1730 or obtaining a claim form online. State law limits the city’s financial liability to $500,000 for the event.

“Situations like this, this case, will take a while,” Water Commissioner Debra McCarty said last week. “People should keep track of all their receipts. … They have to accept claims up to two years, and then once that’s all collated by risk management, it gets turned over to a judge and the judge determines how the funds are distributed. My experience is that folks will get, unfortunately, pennies on the dollar.”

Staff writer Michael Boren contributed to this article.