Southeast D.C. water main break leave 150 without service

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - You never miss water, until the tap runs dry - and today, getting a sip means a back-breaking process for Laura Morrow.

She not only has to navigate the outside stairs with five-gallon containers, she also has to get a cart up to the second floor of her Park Vista apartment in Southeast.

There, she and about 150 of her neighbors have been without water since 10 p.m. last night.

All of this, on the first 80-degree day of the year.

"Very hot and sweaty. That was a lot of work getting up the steps with that water," Morrow told ABC7. "This happened last summer too."

Five feet beneath the street, D.C. Water is stumped for an answer about why the 20-inch water main blew Wednesday night.

Crews told ABC7, the 47-year-old cast iron pipe is half the age of most city pipes.

The break turned 13th Street into a geyser.

"I mean, it flowed like the Potomac River. "It had to be my height...the water was gushing up... and I'm 5-foot-1," said resident Debbie Hodge. "Every two minutes the asphalt was cracking through the ground. It looked like an earthquake out here."

We now know the break occurred in the same location that D.C. Water dug up last summer for valve reinforcement. But crews can't or won't say if those efforts weakened the pipe.

They will say, though, a new pipe is being rushed to 13th Street, as taps in the building are just starting to gurgle back to life.

"When I left it was nothing. Not even a trickle. I'm glad its up. I just hope it stays up," Hodge said.

But, after several outages - no one trusts the water.

When asked if she would drink it, Hodge said, "Oh, no. No, no, no."

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