Ancient Pipes Could Mean More Ruptures

After two major water ruptures this month, some officials are concerned that Philly’s 3,100 miles of deteriorating pipes could cause another urban flash flood at any moment.

The possible damage posed by our seriously old water pipes now has city officials calling for increased federal funding for water infrastructure- funding that has, unfortunately, taken a back seat to other initiatives in past years.

It turns out that the pipes responsible for the Great South Philly Flood of 2012 were installed back in 1917 and 1886, which, by our calculation, makes them older than the dirt that surrounds them. So, yeah, expect another Philly flood to inconvenience you again sometime in the near future.

Former mayor Ed Rendell recently weighed in on the problem, pointing to what seems to be a pattern of neglect, “Our water mains were made in the 19th century. It’s one tragedy waiting to happen after another.”

The main obstacle in upgrading our water infrastructure is that we really don’t have the extra cash to essentially unearth the entire city and install new pipes. Mayor Nutter recently told, “Having additional financial support, whether that’s from grants or at times, unfortunately, from rate hikes, we are constantly trying to upgrade and update our system.”

Well, it seems that we’re going to go with option B, as the water department announced plans to raise rates some 28% over the next four years.

Source:, | Photo by Rikard Larma via Metro

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AroundPhilly Staff

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