Neighbors Waiting for Water After Pipe Bursts, Opens Sinkhole in Southeast D.C.

Thursday, May 8, 2014  |  Updated 12:59 PM EDT
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Residents of about 150 apartments remain without water at midday Thursday, after a water main broke in southeast Washington and created a sinkhole late Wednesday night.

Residents of about 150 apartments remain without water at midday Thursday, after a water main broke in southeast Washington and created a sinkhole late Wednesday night.

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Water Main Break Opens SE D.C. Sinkhole

A water main break opened a large sinkhole in a southeast Washington intersection late Wednesday night.
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Residents of about 150 apartments remain without water at midday Thursday, after a water main broke in southeast Washington and created a sinkhole late Wednesday night.

D.C. Water crews spent the night digging up part of the street and are attempting to remove the broken 20-inch water main, but the replacement pipe has not yet arrived on the scene.

The water main burst last night at the intersection of 13 Street SE at Trenton Place SE, sending water shooting into the air.

"I thought that we were having an earthquake last night," said resident Sylvia Hodge. "I jumped up and you could hear it in my bedroom."

The gush eroded the earth around it, creating the gaping hole now in the middle of the road. Eighteen apartment buildings along 13th Street went dry.

"I had to birdbath it with water, heat some water up in the microwave, so hopefully they get it fixed quickly," said resident Tabitha Coleman.

Houston Roberson -- who works with a nearby drug and alcohol treatment center -- was at a grocery store late Thursday morning, stocking up on bottled water.

"Well, I got a call about 10 o'clock last night, and ran out... and got some bottled water last night," he said. "And [I] got a call again this morning at about 5:30, so I ran out and got some more water. And this is my third load."

Officials said water main repairs typically take 6-8 hours to complete, but this pipe may take longer than usual because of the its size. Crews hope to have everything back to normal by late Thursday afternoon.

The repair work is not affecting traffic in the area, but the sounds of jackhammers and saws are another matter.

"The constant drilling, I just closed the windows instead of, you know, feeling the fresh air," said another resident.

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