Thousands Without Water in Lackawanna County

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SCRANTON -- Massive water problems are affecting a wide swath of our area's biggest city.

Thousands and thousands of people on more than 160 streets and avenues in Scranton and the surrounding communities are living without water.

The problems started Wednesday morning when a large water main cracked underground in Scranton's south side.

According to Pennsylvania American Water, crews shut down the 36-inch main on River Street, and water is draining out of it.

After it is drained, crews can get down into the hole in the street and begin to assess the damage to the main.

Pennsylvania American Water was able to reroute water to some of the spots affected by the water outage, such as Keyser Avenue and Montage Mountain, but there is no word when service will be fully restored.

Newswatch 16 spoke with folks who live on River Street in Scranton right near the water main break. They said they are out of water.

Pennsylvania American Water workers have brought in a giant pump to begin to drain the broken pipe.

Meanwhile officials said thousands of customers will be out of water, possibly for days.

Temperatures in the teens, icy roads, and snowy walkways.

Water was gushing out onto the road Thursday morning.

Folks living nearby said a pipe in their basement exploded, when the larger main broke.

Scranton city officials tacked an orange sign on the multi-family house, condemning the property.

One woman said her family was told they had to leave immediately.

Pennsylvania American Water officials said they are working into the night to make sure water is restored as quickly as possible.

Shutting off water to 8,000 homes and businesses in Scranton, Taylor and Moosic, was the first part of the plan.

The next step was to drain the pipe.

"Once it drains we will be able to safely excavate the area where the break is. We can then evaluate and assess what needs to be done to repair it. When that happens we will have a better estimate of how long it will take us to get service restored to customers. What we've been doing all day is looking at our system and trying to find area's where we can redirect or reroute water from other systems to help minimize the number of people impacted," explained Suzie Turcmanovich, Pennsylvania American Water.

That may mean not everyone expected to lose water, would lose it.

But still officials said, prepare for the worst and take some extra precautions.

If you still have water, fill up your bathtub, and don't drink that water, but you can use it to flush your toilet.

Also your heating could be affected, so keep an eye on your steam boilers.

Home heating and plumbing expert Wayne Pisanchyn from the Clarks Summit area said do not drain the boiler.

He also said you can add water to the boiler, but you'll want to call a professional to do the job.

A list of locations where you can get water is posted here.

Click here for a map of the areas affected.


  • troutlover

    Why were there NO shutoff valves nearer the break that would have prevented having to drain this huge water main? God forbid a fire during this long repair time!

  • John Igoe

    Respectfully, I believe that it would be appropriate for the PA American Water, and city of Scranton leadership team to have a press conference “very soon” and provide the residents and businesses affected with the current status and plan of repair (estimated timetable) for the water break on River Street. We are already almost 48 hours into this event. I do believe that the onsite team is doing everything that can be done to solve this crisis as soon as possible. It is a difficult situation and I Thank them for their work.
    Someone must step up: We need regular interval updates, i.e 6AM, 12N, 6PM,12MID until this crisis is solved. I look to the leaders of our area to get actively involved and provide us concrete information on this situation as soon as they can. How about a running bottom of the screen banner on our local TV stations with a time stamp and the current information. Perhaps Channel 19 could be used for this until the crisis ends. Just food for thought.

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