by Brendan Sample
After over two months of dealing with a leaking sewer, residents of Prospect Avenue and adjacent streets no longer have to worry about raw sewage seeping into their roads. With the Philadelphia Water Department unable to fix the privately owned line, a separate contractor, Hirschberg Mechanical, was able to repair the leak on Friday, Feb. 23.
While the PWD could not provide a direct fix itself, the department did conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the leak. In a statement provided to the Local, the PWD confirmed that the leak was the result of sewage flowing through a clean-out, which allows for access to the line.
“We regret that we were unable to determine the sewer ‘culprit’ immediately,” said Laura Copeland, public information officer for the PWD. “This is a challenge with private sewers, as we do not own and maintain them and therefore do not have plans that map their locations.”
The property that actually owns the sewer, and thus became responsible for fixing it, is a townhouse complex at the corner of Prospect and Newton Street listed under Tavistock Condos. While Hirschberg was unable to provide an exact homeowner name, the contracting company did confirm that it was hired by Tavistock to fix the leak.
In addition to spilling onto Prospect Avenue, the sewage had also leaked down to Summit Street before pooling on Stenton Avenue. The leak became a further safety issue when the sewage would freeze on Stenton, resulting in cars getting stuck.