Water Woes in Parma Lead to ‘Call For Action’

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PARMA, Ohio-- A fast moving stream appeared on Parma's North Avenue Wednesday evening and it was still flowing when residents woke up Thursday morning.

Several said they put in a call to the Cleveland Water Department Wednesday night, but when several hours passed without any sign of a repair crew, one of them Called For Action.

"Fix it. If it's broke, you fix it," said Frank Szell, who lives on the street.

Szell told FOX 8 Call For Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor he had to take his morning shower at a friend's house because the water pressure was too low in his own home.  Other neighbors said they were unable to flush their toilets.

Taylor contacted the water department's corporate office and asked if there was a way to expedite a fix, considering the severity of the problem and the inconvenience to those affected by it.

It turns out the department began monitoring the problem when it was first reported, but due to water main breaks across 72 communities, it was close to noon on Thursday before a crew could arrive.

Their truck pulled onto the street within minutes of Taylor’s call. Workmen shut down the street and went to work locating the leak.

A department spokesperson said crews had been working around the clock, seven days a week since the weather turned cold, as they tried to keep up with reports of water main breaks.

Despite the 24-hour commitment to service, it became necessary to hire contractors to get the jobs done.

"At this time of year, we get numerous breaks, sometimes this time of  year, 20 to 40 per day,” said Tom Scullin, assistant chief of distribution for the water department. “We respond, our first responders out there, we try and get them to the job site as quick as possible."

The burst pipe on North Avenue was one of 20 new calls logged between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. During that same time, crews were finishing up their 16th job.

"I hope they can have the patience and understand; we're doing our best, trying to do what we can to keep everything working properly," said Scullin.

He told Taylor the water main on North Avenue should be repaired by Thursday night.