News Feature | May 10, 2018

Water Main Break, Sinkhole Hit Philly Airport

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,


The Philly airport was dry for several hours this week in the latest major sign that U.S. water infrastructure needs some upgrades.

“Philadelphia International Airport was without water for several hours Monday due to a water main break that flooded a parking lot. The 24-inch water main broke in one of the airport’s economy lots Monday around 5 p.m., forcing many people to drive and walk through water,” NBC Philadelphia reported.

“Staff members distributed hand sanitizers to airport restrooms while cooking operations at airport restaurants were suspended. Bottled beverages and packaged food were available at various concessions,” the report said.

The disruption prevented passengers “from flushing toilets, washing their hands in bathroom sinks or drinking from water fountains,” Fox News reported.

Overall, the rupture crippled certain operations at the airport. Airport bathrooms were “covered in blood, urine and feces after water main break,” according to The New York Post, which cited traveler accounts of the bathrooms from Twitter.

Water is back up and running, but the main break was not the end of the infrastructure fallout during this incident. A sinkhole opened up after the main ruptured, CBS Philly reported. In addition, around a dozen cars have water damage.

“The flooding has receded but crews are still pumping water from the sinkhole and cleaning up the mess left behind,” the report said.

Crumbling infrastructure is a national problem. The U.S. received an overall grade of D+ on the infrastructure report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Wastewater and drinking water infrastructure scored a D+ and a D, respectively. The Hill reported: “The rating is considered ‘poor’ and ‘at risk,’ just one step above failing and unfit for purpose.”

Image credit: "T_PS_0058," Jos @ FPS-Groningen © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: