WSSC police issued more than 100 written warnings to violators of the mandatory water restrictions for all WSCC customers after an inspection on Thursday showed a failing 96-inch water main in Montgomery County. However, water officials say usage hasn't dropped nearly enough as of Saturday morning.
WSSC said the goal was to reduce water usage by about one-third, but officials say water usage has dropped less than 10 percent since the restrictions went into effect on Thursday. The restrictions are expected to last at least through the weekend. At the Greenbelt Acquatic Center, they are pumping water from the outdoor pool into the indoor pool to conserve water and keep their pool from closing for the day.
Crews continue to work around the clock to fix a faulty 96-inch water main. On Friday morning, workers removed dirt and rocks from around the pipe and shored up the area. They are replacing the water main near the corner of Tuckerman Lane and Gainsborough Road in Potomac but the work is taking longer than expected, according to the WSSC. They began laying the new pipe on Saturday morning. For more details check the WSSC website.
WSSC is taking precautions to prevent what happened when a 66-inch main broke on River Road in December 2008.
The commission hopes to lift the restrictions at some point Monday, but in the meantime, customers should follow these guidelines:
- Stop all outside water use -- no watering lawns, no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools, no washing outdoor paved surfaces
- Use water only as necessary
- Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use)
- Limit using washing machines and dishwashers (wash full loads only)
- Decrease shower time
- Turn off water while shaving or brushing teeth
- Check all faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks and repair them (Leaks can waste 10 percent of a household's water use)
- Install a low-flow shower head if you don't already have one to save water and energy
Dozens of water abuses have been reported, many by neighbors turning in fellow neighbors. Abusers receive warnings for first offenses but can be fined $500 for second abuses, according to officials.
Car washes are not affected if they recycle their water.
The City of Rockville water system is not affected, but many city residents receive their water from WSSC, including all of King Farm, College Gardens, Plymouth Woods, as well as portions of Twinbrook, Potomac Woods, Chadsberry, Montrose and Woodley Gardens. The City of Rockville has not issued water restrictions for customers of the city's water system. Click here for a detailed map.
WSSC said it has been working with fire departments from Montgomery and Prince George's counties to make sure there is adequate fire protection, especially considering that this weekend is the Fourth of July and there will likely be numerous fireworks displays.
“We know this is a burden, especially on this holiday weekend," said WSSC GM Jerry Johnson. "But if everyone can be vigilant and cut their water use by a third, we’ll be OK.”
WSSC said water quality will not be affected, and it will notify customers once repairs are complete and mandatory restrictions are no longer necessary.
What happens if you see a violation? In Montgomery County, call 311. Your call will then be referred to the appropriate enforcement agency for follow up. Violators could receive a $500 ticket.
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