City battles time and cold to repair water line


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A problem that started with a broken water line last week has turned into a big headache for businesses and residents on the west side of Youngstown.

After heavy rains Tuesday, a sinkhole opened up at a water line repair site on Mahoning Avenue, near the Mahoning Avenue bridge.

The water, leaves, and other debris filled the hole faster than it could be pumped out. The excess water forced raw sewage into homes and some business nearby. In addition to that problem, East Ohio Gas shut off service to some of the residents and businesses while repairs are being made to the line. This comes as weather forecasters are calling for below normal temperatures in the coming days.

Sonora Evans said she had several inches of sewage in her basement – at one point knocking out the pilot lights on her hot water tank and furnace.

“I can’t even wash clothes because it is so bad. Once the water goes down the drain from the washer, it overflows even more,” Evans said.

Reverend Gary Schreckengost with St. John’s Lutheran Church said the mess in the basement of the church forced him to cancel Wednesday services. He said the fumes and water in the downstairs restroom were enough to keep people out of the church.

“Our building supervisor gave up last night. We were trying to keep ahead of the water coming,” said Rev. Schreckengost.

Across the street, workers at the Paisley House assisted living home have had their own cleanup work to do after their lower level flooded twice. Executive Director Jill Cox said two offices, the laundry department and the beauty shop are all on the lower level where the water was coming in.

“It is not just a basement. We are going to lose some things,” Cox said.

Crews will be working 16-hour shifts to get the repairs made to the lines.The areas impacted are Mahoning Avenue, McKinely Avenue and Whitney Avenue.

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If you have damage because of the water/sewage line break, call the Youngstown Waste Water Department and make a report. Also, call the Youngstown Law Department and provide them with a damage claim and declaration page from your home owners or renters insurance policy. To view video instructions from Mayor John McNally, watch the video to your left.

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