Berliner Asks WSSC For Explanation Of Chevy Chase Water Main Break


County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) this morning released a letter to WSSC general manager Jerry N. Johnson asking about the status of the 54-inch water main break in Chevy Chase that left downed trees, snarled Connecticut Avenue traffic and mandatory water restrictions in place for Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. The break happened at Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Connecticut Avenue. WSSC said in a press release this morning that no customers were without water. Southbound Connecticut Avenue reopened at 7 a.m. this morning, but northbound Connecticut Avenue remains closed between East-West Highway and Jones Bridge Road and traffic remains difficult through the area. The road closure has led to the closure of the Chevy Chase Library and access to the 8401 Connecticut Avenue office building remains closed off. WSSC said the pipe that broke began operation around 1980. Dear Mr. Johnson: I am writing with regard to the 54 inch water main break that occurred last night (March 18) which has snarled rush hour traffic, led to mandatory water restrictions in Montgomery County, and led to some power outages in the vicinity of the break.  I know WSSC is doing everything it can to perform emergency repairs and get the water main back on-line. Please let me know how many (if any) customers in the area are currently without water (and if so, if WSSC is delivering water to those households), if any vulnerable populations are without water or power at this time, whether there were any injuries resulting from the break, and whether any additional interagency cooperation is needed (with the County, Pepco, or others). I am also interested in what the status of this section of PCCP pipe is with regard to WSSC’s ongoing large diameter main inspection/repair/acoustic fiber optic monitoring work.  It is my understanding that all large diameter pipes (48 inches or greater) will have gone through at least one round of inspections/maintenance/AFO monitoring by the end of FY13.  Both the Montgomery and Prince George’s Councils have supported all of WSSC’s funding requests for its large diameter pipe work and it would be of great concern if this segment of pipe had been inspected recently and been found to not need any repairs or if acoustic fiber optic monitoring had been installed but is ultimately ineffective in providing an early warning of an impending break. Please keep the Council informed as to your progress repairing the main, as well as any information you collect regarding the cause of the break. Photo via WSSC

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