WSSC Prepares for More Water Main Breaks

wsscwater2UPDATED The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is coming out of a record year that saw a total of 1,958 water main breaks, tying the mark set in 2010 for the second most in the history of WSSC.

As the New Year welcomes the Washington area with frigid temperatures, WSSC is not expecting a slowdown in the number of water main breaks in its system. Only seven days into 2015, WSSC reports 63 breaks and with forecasts showing temperatures hovering around the freezing mark over the next few days, the possibility of more water main breaks increases.

According to a WSSC news release, crews are ready to tackle a heavier workload this weekend and beyond. Some of the proactive action taken by the utility company include:

·A 24/7 rapid response call center that quickly dispatches crews: 1.800.828.6439
·More than 200 personnel strategically placed throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to respond to breaks and leaks.
·Hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment that are ready to go.
·Independent contractors readily available to assist WSSC to repair large breaks.

The largest number of breaks on record was set back in 2007 with a total of 2,129. On average, WSSC services around 1,700 breaks and leaks a year. During the polar vortex last January, WSSC experienced almost 600 breaks alone.

As cold weather enters this area, water temperature in the Potomac River and surrounding water sources begins to drop. When colder than normal water travels through aging pipes, it exacerbates any weaknesses and causes an increase in water main breaks. More than a quarter of the water mains maintained by WSSC have been in service for more than 50 years. Customers can track the direct impact water temperature has on water main breaks at

Smartphone users are encouraged to download WSSC’s Mobile App and use it to report water main breaks and receive alerts based on a specific location. The “Report a Problem” feature allows customers to easily snap a picture of water and sewer problems and send it directly to the WSSC Emergency Call Center. The application uses GPS to pinpoint the location of the image, which allows WSSC dispatchers to send an inspector to the trouble spot in the field.

CNS is another tool to keep WSSC customers informed about water main breaks, road closures and other important news. Sign up to receive either text or email alerts today.

The low temperatures can also affect home plumbing. Homeowners are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent their own pipes from freezing and/or bursting. Visit WSSC’s winterization page for tips and additional information to help protect your home this winter.


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