Streets resembled canals Thursday morning, as city Water Management crews in rubber boots waded through the slosh, opening up manholes to try to give the excess water somewhere to go.
There were numerous reports of flooded basements, after a 36-inch iron water main failed Thursday morning in the 5500 block of North Kilpatrick in the Sauganash neighborhood.
“This is a big one,” said Gary Litherland, a Water Department spokesman, noting it was the worst he’d seen in 10 years.
Litherland said the valve that had failed had been repaired and the water main was back in service as of Thursday afternoon, though workers remained at the scene repairing a catch basin that collapsed after becoming inundated with water.
However, all residents hadworkingwater, gas and electric services, Litherland said.
“Everything’s back to normal as far as water and sewer services are concerned,” Litherland said.
The water made its way to the basement of Rebecca Doroshuk, who lives on Knox Avenue.
“I looked outside and the whole street was flooded toward Peterson, and then it slowly started to flood toward my house,” said Doroshuk.
And then very quickly, water began gushing into her basement. She said she found plastic tubs of tools floating. At its worst, Doroshuk said she had a foot of water in her basement.
“It’s the second time, so we just need to get a flood control system,” she said.
Dennis Hammer, who has lived in the neighborhood for 28 years, couldn’t recall ever seeing so much water on his street.
About 8 a.m., water was still gushing from a plastic pipe at the front of his Kilpatrick Avenue home — water that had been in his basement.
Before he saw the water, Hammer heard TV news helicopters buzzing overhead and assumed there had been a nasty car accident nearby.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hammer said of his view out the front window of his home.
But he said there wasn’t water in his basement until Water Management crews began opening manhole covers to allow the water to drain.
“They came around and opened up all these sewers, and you see the result,” Hammer said.
Litherland said the basement flooding was not as bad as it might have been — thanks to the large amount of leaves that had collected in catch and gutter basins.
“To some extent that’s good because if all of it had gone into the sewers at once, everybody would have had flooded basements,” he said.
A three-to-four-block radius was affected by the “major” water main break, Chicago Police said. The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation was working to salt the streets, and ComEd and People’s Gas had been notified.