City: Pilsen water main should be fixed Wednesday

December 21, 2011 4:25:06 AM PST
The Chicago Water Department blames outdated infrastructure for a water main break that flooded streets, homes and a school gym in Pilsen at 21st and Laflin.

A 12-foot pipe is ready to go and officials say the repair work should be finished by Wednesday evening. The pipe burst Monday night, sending a river of water onto Pilsen streets.

"This main dates back to 1927 and is made of cast iron. It's a good example of why our aging infrastructure needs to be renewed," Thomas Powers, Chicago Water Department, said.

City crews will replace and seal the pipe, then flush it with water. For residents, the cleanup could take much longer. Pilsen resident Walter Green just got out of the military.

"Basically, everything is destroyed in my basement. We're looking at about three to three and a half feet of water, and basically, I lost everything," said Green. "It is a pretty terrible way to start the holidays."

City officials encouraged Green and others impacted by the floods to file claims with the city. The alderman sent some employees out to the neighborhood with claim forms.

"We have claim forms," said Ald. Danny Solis. "If we miss them, they can get the forms at the city clerk's office or my office."

"How soon will I get the money to fix it? My neighbor lost her furnace, boiler, everything, and she doesn't have money to replace that right now," Leila Mendez, flooding victim, said.

The gym at Juarez High School was flooded, but classes remained in session. The school was under a boil order on Tuesday.

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