PG communities stock up on water during main repair - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

PG communities stock up on water during main repair

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Second section of replacement pipe arrives in District Heights. PHOTO/Bob Barnard FOX 5 Second section of replacement pipe arrives in District Heights. PHOTO/Bob Barnard FOX 5
#WSSC readies new 54" water-pipe for massive repair in So. Prince Georges. Photo/Tom Fitzgerald FOX 5 #WSSC readies new 54" water-pipe for massive repair in So. Prince Georges. Photo/Tom Fitzgerald FOX 5

Several southern Prince George's County communities -- including Joint Base Andrews and National Harbor -- are being warned to stock up on water because repairs to a failing pipe could leave them without water for several days.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says it expects to issue mandatory water restrictions for tens of thousands of customers Tuesday afternoon because a section of pipe appears to be failing. WSSC says the pipeline is unique in its system and there's little redundancy to provide service during repairs.

Some of the communities likely to be affected include Morningside, Hillcrest Heights, Camp Springs, Forest Heights, Temple Hills and Oxon Hill. County emergency officials will be working with hospitals and nursing homes to ensure they have access to water.


Once the water is shut off to make repairs, there will still be enough water in the system to provide water for another 12-14 hours.  However, mandatory water restrictions will be in place to preserve fire fighting capabilities and to make the water supply last while repairs are underway. To find out if you are in the affected area, please visit our online interactive map.

Timeline for Repairs:

-Mandatory water Restrictions will begin at 9PM tonight

-WSSC will refill the system to capacity in the area to be affected

-Once the system is full, WSSC will de-water the pipe to prepare for repairs

-The affected area should have water for approximately 12-15 hours after the water is shut off.

-Repairs will be completed and water will be restored within 3-5 days

NOTE: Until repairs are complete, it is imperative that all business and residential customers restrict their water use. The less water that is used, the longer it will be available for critical functions to customers in this affected area.

The main will be shut down Tuesday evening. From that time, residents will have approximately 14 hours left to use water until it is completely gone for anywhere between two and five days.

It is likely tens of thousands of Prince George’s customers will lose water service for a few days. Information on water storage information, water restrictions and details on the problem can be found here. Information is also being released by WSSC on their Facebook and Twitter.

WSSC's water restriction guidelines

-Stop all outside water use – no watering lawns, shrubs, flowers; no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools

-Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands

-Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use)

-Postpone using washing machines and dishwashers

Residents are urged to stock up on water. Jaime Miller, a public relations representative for the company, said the company has three stores in the affected area and they are making arrangements for special deliveries of more bottle water to stores in all of Prince George's County and nearby D.C. stores. The stores will remain open and bring in whatever needed to keep restrooms and water open and available. Quality assurance staff will be on site to make sure it is sanitary.

Water storage tips from WSSC:

  • Store 1-2 gallons of safe water per person per day.
  • “Safe” is tap water in clean containers or store bought bottled water.
  • Store 1-2 gallons of purchased distilled water for any individuals with chronic health problems including weakened immune systems.
  • Store tap water in airtight, clean, food-grade plastic containers.
  • Do not store drinking water in glass or used milk containers.
  • Don’t forget to store water for your pets to drink.
  • You can use the water in your hot-water tank and ice cubes.
  • Water stored in a bath tub or swimming pool can be used to flush toilets.
  • Don’t forget, most people in the area are NOT affected. So contact relatives and friends and ask for their assistance.

An increasing number of wire breaks in the vital 54-inch section of the pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe, located inside the Beltway between Suitland Parkway and Forestville Road, signaled to WSSC repairs needed to be made.

WSSC outlined the problem:

  • An Acoustic Fiber Optic (AFO) monitoring system inside the pipe alerted us to the potential failure.
  • A section of the pipe will need to be shut down so repairs can be made.
  • Repairs could take about five days.
  • There is a map on our homepage – showing the affected area in red.
  • You can use the search box located on the upper left side of the page to type in an address and determine if it is in the affected area.
  • Ahead of the restrictions, customers in the affected area are encouraged to stock up on water because we are expecting a water shortage as a result of the main shut down and subsequent repairs.
  • Customers should stock up on bottled water for drinking.
  • Bathtubs can be filled with water to be used to flush toilets. If you have a swimming pool, that water can also be used for flushing toilets. 
  • The water in the system is safe to drink.

Prince George’s County Emergency Services will be working with hospitals, nursing homes and others to ensure they have water.

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