This week’s water emergency in southern Prince George’s County could happen again, and WSSC’s solution is still several years away.
Water quality test results showed water is safe to drink after a failing 54-inch pipe was replaced in Forestville -- a project that threatened the loss of water to more than 100,000 people. WSSC employees managed to avoid that extreme when they cleaned up a stuck, corroded valve so water could be diverted.
But in Largo, about 600 people know what it’s like to go without water. A water main burst Thanksgiving morning, leaving them without water for two days.
“We had company coming down for Thanksgiving, and they couldn’t come,” Michael Edwards said. “They came but it was too late to tell them not to come.”
Just like that 54-inch water main in Forestville, there weren’t a lot of options for a work-around. If a pipe breaks in the wrong place, hundreds could go without water during repairs.
It’s such an issue problem in southern Prince George’ County that WSSC has tried for years to create 10 miles of redundant pipe line. The project was approved last year, but construction won’t begin until 2018.
“It's a huge engineering feat to do something of the magnitude that we’re talking about, but it’s definitely something that we plan to do,” WSSC spokesperson Kira Calm Lewis said.
In the meantime, WSSC monitors almost every large main in the county, and hopefully they’ll catch problems before they happen, like they did in Forestville.