Boil water advisory lifted for South Hills, roads starting to reopen after pipe break

Some without homes after flooding caused by massive water main break

PITTSBURGH — A boil water advisory was lifted Sunday for hundreds of thousands of people following a massive water main break Friday morning. It flooded a Pittsburgh road, closed schools and had crews with swift water rescue gear pulling people from homes.

East Agnew Avenue in the area of Becks Run Road in the city’s Carrick neighborhood was ripped apart by the rushing water.

>>RELATED: Under a boil water advisory? Here's what you need to know

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East Agnew Avenue and Dowling Street are closed to Becks Run Road. Becks Run Road reopened Sunday after being closed because of debris.

According to Pennsylvania American Water, “acceptable test results” were obtained from the first round of water samples collected. Early Sunday, the second round of 'clean' test results were collected.

East Agnew Street will be closed for several days.

UPDATE ON ALLEGHENY COUNTY BOIL WATER ADVISORY: We have collected the 11 samples required for our first round of...

Posted by Pennsylvania American Water on Friday, September 20, 2019

The water rushed toward homes, filling basements and backyards. Firefighters said the water was 6 feet deep in some yards. Three homes were seriously damaged and there were about 10 homes impacted by the water.

The water gushed for about six hours before crews were able to shut it off, officials said.

Crews had swift water rescue gear as they checked on people who live in the area. Three people and several animals were rescued, police said.

A woman and her daughter woke up to water shooting into their doors and windows, their basement flooding and the ceiling caving in. The 78-year-old mother was carried out a back door by firefighters.

“We were praying. We were so scared. It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my life. It was so horrible. Water gushing at you. We didn't know what happened,” Rose Gitzen, who was rescued, said.

Power was cut in the area because of compromised power poles, according to Pittsburgh Public Safety.

Pennsylvania American Water officials said the break, which was reported about 5 a.m., occurred in a 24-inch line.

Officials said the water main break left a hole in the road that is about 25 feet deep and 20 feet wide.


Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said there were early communication issues with Penn-American regarding setting up the emergency response command center.

The Red Cross said a team is providing assistance to people impacted by the water main break. Agency officials said they were assisting eight adults and four children.

The Keystone Oaks School District, Baldwin-Whitehall School District, Mt. Lebanon School District, Brentwood Borough School District, Bethel Park's Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and St. Bernard School were closed because of the water main break. Ten schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district are also closed: Beechwood PreK-5, Brookline PreK-8, Banksville PreK-5, Carrick High School, Concord PreK-5, Carmalt PreK-8, Pioneer, Roosevelt PreK-5, South Brook 6-8 and West Liberty PreK-5.

The Carlynton School District dismissed students early.

Carrick High School's homecoming has been rescheduled for Nov. 1.

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Nearly the entire South Hills area and parts of the city of Pittsburgh were under a boil-water advisory due to the break. PA American Water said this included over 30 boroughs:

  • Baldwin Borough
  • Baldwin Township
  • Bethel Park
  • Brentwood
  • Bridgeville
  • Carnegie
  • Castle Shannon
  • Clairton
  • Collier
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Crafton
  • Dormont
  • Dravosburg
  • Green Tree
  • Heidelberg
  • Homestead
  • Ingram
  • Jefferson Borough
  • Mount Lebanon
  • Mount Oliver
  • Munhall
  • North Fayette
  • Oakdale
  • Upper Saint Clair
  • Pennsbury
  • Pleasant Hills
  • Rosslyn Farms
  • Scott Township
  • South Fayette
  • South Park
  • Thornburg
  • West Mifflin
  • West Allegheny Muncipal Authority
  • West Homestead
  • Whitaker
  • Whitehall

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority customers were not impacted by the Penn-American boil-water advisory.