Update: WSSC Continues Repairs to Broken Water Main; Restrictions Remain In Place
Water restrictions are in place in Montgomery and Prince George's counties until repairs to the Chevy Chase Lake water main are complete, which could take several days.
Update, 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21:
Repairs to the 60-inch water main that burst Monday night in Chevy Chase continued on Thursday, March 21.
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission "crews removed the damaged 20-foot section of the 5-foot diameter pipe and are now welding the new section of pipe into place," according to a WSSC statement issued at noon on Thursday.
"Once repairs to the pipe are complete later this afternoon it will take several more days for the work to conclude," the statement added.
Only one lane of Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase Lake remained closed on Thursday: the right-hand northbound lane between Dunlop Street and Manor Road.
Mandatory water restrictions continued on Thursday for Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
"There is evidence that [water] consumption is down slightly," Jim Neustadt, WSSC's director of communications and community relations, said. "And we thank our customers for their efforts. Every little bit helps."
Update, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20:
WSSC crews were slated to remove the damaged 20-foot section of the 5-foot-in-diameter pipe on Wednesday night and replace it with a new section of pipe, according to a WSSC statement.
"Once repairs to the pipe are complete, it will take several additional days for the work in the area to conclude," the statement added.
A second northbound lane of Connecticut Avenue near the work site was opened up on Wednesday evening. The remaining northbound lane remained closed between Manor Road and Dunlop Street "so the repair crews can work safely." All southbound lanes of Connecticut Avenue remain open, according to the statement.
Original post, 4:45 p.m., Wednesday, March 20:
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission crews on Wednesday continued to repair the 60-inch water main on Connecticut Avenue near Chevy Chase Lake Drive that burst at around 8 p.m. on Monday, sending about 60 million gallons of water gushing 100 feet into the air.
Wednesday's work involved removing a 20-foot section of the pipe and replacing it with a new section. After that, it will take several more days to complete the work, according to a WSSC news statement. Northbound traffic on Connecticut Avenue still was reduced to just one lane between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road on Wednesay.
Mandatory water restrictions continued for Montgomery and Prince George's counties on Wednesday to ensure adequate water reserves for fire protection and hospital and medical services. Tap water is safe to drink, the statement added.
Residents were asked to cut water consumption by 10 percent, and WSSC police may issue $500 citations to residents violating the restrictions, Patch reported.
"We are hoping for compliance based on the honor system and people’s understanding of the importance of maintaining enough water and pressure in the system to keep us all safe," WSSC spokeswoman Kira Lewis told Patch.
In the past, WSSC has "issued warnings and citations during mandatory water restrictions when violations were brought to our attention or encountered by the WSSC police officers and staff during their daily routines," Lewis said.
"This is not an effort to penalize or raise revenue, it is an effort to restore water levels and maintain adequate pressure in the system," she added.
Residents were asked to:
- Use water only as necessary (i.e., take shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands and while brushing teeth).
- Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use).
- Limit using washing machines and dishwashers (wash full loads only).
- Stop all outside water use (i.e., do not water lawns, shrubs or flowers, and do not wash cars).
WSSC will notify customers once mandatory restrictions are no longer necessary.
The water main that broke did have "equipment designed to alert the utility of an impending break, a utility official said," but WSSC did not receive any warning about the break, The Washington Post reported.
"The equipment [installed in 2010] is designed to detect the 'ping' sounds that emanate from a concrete pipe as its reinforcing steel wire begins to snap, giving the utility time to shut down a pipe before it ruptures," The Post reported.