Residents of Appleton Street said it has been more than 48 hours since they contacted the Baltimore Department pf Public Works about a water leak and have yet to receive a response much less actual service.
“The water is still running no one from the city has contacted us—no one,” said Marvin “Doc” Cheatham Sr., president of the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association and resident of Appleton Street.
But the civil and community rights leaders said that is par for the course in the neighbourhood.
“It is a neglected community so this is just another one of those instances where we can’t get service,” he said.
Water started leaking from a water meter plate on the 1600 block of Appleton Street on Saturday morning just before snow began to fall, Cheatham said. At first they assumed it was runoff from the snow, but then the water began to rise.
“Water actually got up to about 7 inches high,” he said.
Residents got together and cleaned the roadside gutters so the water could run freely but were stymied when one neighbour refused to move her vehicle.
Homeowners on the 1500 block and on Baker Street had an even tougher time. With a blocked drainage port, water accumulated on the street and turned to ice, making it impossible for some cars to move.
Cheatham said residents made more than two dozen phone calls requesting service. And the office of the District’s representative, Councilman Nick J. Mosby, D-Dist. 7, also put in several calls to DPW throughout the course of the weekend.
Jeffrey Raymond, DPW’s chief of communications and community affairs, told the AFRO that the department has been deluged by calls for service and that he would look into the Appleton Street matter.
“We are going through an unusually long list of water outage service calls that has put us back on our heels,” he said. “This is a citywide problem extending into the county.”
Last Friday, for example, the department received more than a 1,000 calls for service, he said.
“As the temperatures go down, the calls for service have been increasing,” Raymond said. “Frankly, we have our fingers crossed for a break in the weather so we don’t get more of these problems.”
In the meantime, the department has put its service crew on 12-hour shifts so they’re working around the clock, have pulled in people from other divisions and have brought in outside contractors to work on responding to service requests.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Raymond said, but he also provided some tips for residents:
-Make sure outside spigots are turned off and drained to prevent ice formation.
-Keep a faucet open enough to allow a thin stream of water to flow—that keeps water moving through the pipes and helps avoid freezing.
-Ensure that the handle for the inside water valve—usually found in the basement—can be moved so that valve can be shut off in the case of an inside main break.
-Store an adequate supply of bottled water—1 gallon per person per day.