Dangerous Manhole Still Not Fixed After 3 Years

By David Chang
|  Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 12:46 AM EDT
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The Philadelphia Water Department promises to fix a problem on a Northern Liberties street, after NBC10 gets involved.  Lu Ann Cahn explains.

NBC10.com - Lu Ann Cahn

The Philadelphia Water Department promises to fix a problem on a Northern Liberties street, after NBC10 gets involved. Lu Ann Cahn explains.

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Nick Richards watched last week when NBC10 aired a story on a huge sinkhole in the Northern Liberties section of the city that nearly swallowed a pickup truck. The Northeast Philadelphia resident then felt compelled to contact us when he realized the story was eerily similar to an issue he’s dealt with for the past three years.

“My fear is after seeing the story you did, I’m afraid the same thing will happen here,” Richards said when he first got in touch with us.

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Richards claims that for three years the street in front of his home has been sinking due to a manhole.  After trying to contact them several times, Richards says officials with the Philadelphia Water Department finally checked it a year ago and determined that the area was “imminently dangerous.” Despite this however, officials merely placed barricades around the manhole but never actually fixed it.

“It will collapse overtime and cause a lot of damage,” Richards said. “Then we’ll be responsible.”
NBC10 contacted the water department over the weekend. PWD spokesman John DiGiulio responded and told us they would address the problem immediately and that it had “slipped through the cracks.”

DiGiulio then sent NBC10 another message on Monday.

“Thanks to his outreach to you and NBC10, we immediately investigated the situation and determined that the manhole is defective,” he wrote. “The Water Department will be fully reviewing this situation to determine where we dropped the ball.”

While Richards is happy that something is finally being done, he also believes the issue around his home and the sinkhole in Northern Liberties represent a bigger problem in the city.

“Until you came out on Friday, nothing got done,” he said.

PWD officials say they’re conducting an internal investigation to determine why there was a lack of response. They also say the manhole will be repaired by the end of the week at the latest.

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