WSSC Solicits Input On Bi-County Water Supply Main Study

Public meetings part of extensive community outreach program; Project is one of the last major segments in WSSC's water distribution network; Supply main will help transport clean drinking water to Montgomery and Prince George's Counties

| News Release



LAUREL, MD (February 2, 2005): Ensuring that citizens and interested stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input and feedback on the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's (WSSC) Bi-County Water Supply Main Study, WSSC will host the first series of public information meetings throughout Montgomery County at the following locations (the same presentations will be made at each meeting):

Monday, February 14 - 7 to 9 p.m.
Walter Johnson High School (cafeteria)
6400 Rock Spring Drive Bethesda, MD 20814

Monday, February 21 - 7 to 9 p.m.
Tilden Middle School (cafeteria)
11211 Old Georgetown Road Rockville, MD 20852

Tuesday, March 1 - 7 to 9 p.m.
Kensington Town Hall and
Community Center
3710 Mitchell Street
Kensington, MD 20895

The bi-county water supply main - or Clean Water Connection - is a crucial transmission project that will alleviate capacity limitations from existing smaller mains. The main will be approximately 5.5-miles of 84-inch diameter pipe, and connect an existing main at the intersection of I-270 and Tuckerman Lane to another existing main in the area where Rock Creek crosses I-495 in Montgomery County.

"The men and women of WSSC are proud of their efforts to continually produce safe, clean water that meets or surpasses strict federal US Environmental Protection Agency standards," said WSSC Interim General Manager Carla Reid Joyner. "Equally as important as producing safe water is delivering a constant, reliable supply of water to our customers. The bi-county supply main will enable WSSC to meet future water supply needs and fulfill our mission of delivering safe, clean drinking water."

The new supply main will help transport clean drinking water from WSSC's Potomac Water Filtration Plant to customers in eastern Montgomery County and most of Prince George's County. The Potomac plant produces approximately three-quarters of the water used by WSSC's 1.6 million customers.

Short-term impacts of not having this project include low water pressure -- below 30 pounds per square inch (psi) -- and loss of water storage for fire fighting and emergency supply in the Silver Spring area. This will have an impact on WSSC's ability to provide water at sufficient pressure for fire protection. Below 30 psi, customers may notice a decrease in performance when using multiple plumbing fixtures simultaneously. Low pressure also presents the possibility that unexpectedly high flows (such as flow from an open hydrant) will result in complete loss of water. Longer-term impacts may include system-wide mandatory water restrictions during periods of high demand, droughts and weather-related emergencies, and reduced ability to supply water to Prince George's County.

"Under drought conditions in 2002, WSSC experienced difficulty in maintaining normal water pressure in some areas of Silver Spring during peak demand periods," said Project Manager John Mitchell. "Although this condition did not create water distribution problems at the time, it served as a warning that the need for the Bi-County supply main is near."

The study, which began fall 2004, will identify potential pipeline alignments and construction methods (i.e. open cut and/or tunneling). The open-cut method involves digging a trench into the ground into which the pipeline is placed and re-covered. Tunneling involves deep underground borings through which the pipeline is installed. The $9.9 million contract for planning and design, was awarded to Black and Veatch of Gaithersburg, Maryland and includes 30 percent minority business participation from the following firms: Peer Consultants, P.C.; McKissack & McKissack, Inc.; A. Morton Thomas & Associates, Inc.; T.L. Brown Associates, Inc.; and Dacco Sci, Inc.

"Public outreach is a key part of this study," added Joyner. "The preferred Bi-County water supply main alignment and construction method will be selected with input from citizens, customers and interested stakeholders. This main is one of the last major segments in our 5,300-mile water distribution network."

Following planning phase completion in late 2005 / early 2006, WSSC will seek the concurrence from the Montgomery and Prince George's County Councils on the preferred alignment and construction method. Upon approval from both Councils, WSSC will begin the next phase of the project - detailed design work. WSSC estimates that it will take 12 to 18 months to complete detailed design. Depending on the construction method selected, construction could take approximately three years to complete.

For more information on this project, call the Clean Water Connection hotline at 301-206-8184 or visit WSSC's website and click on "Projects" then "Major Construction Projects and Studies."

WSSC is among the 10 largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, serving 1.6 million customers in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

For 100 years, WSSC has proudly served the citizens of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – providing drinking water that has always met strict Safe Drinking Water Act standards and protecting the environment through vital water resource recovery services. Our vision is to be THE world-class water utility, where excellent products and services are always on tap.


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