WSSC Asks Olney Residents to Reduce Water Usage

Hauling Wastewater Resumed near Reddy Branch Creek

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Laurel – March 7, 2013: WSSC is still working to find the break in a 16” sewer main that is causing an overflow into Reddy Branch Creek, in Olney, Maryland. We ask that customers reduce their water usage, if possible, to help lessen the flow entering the creek.

WSSC employee working on siteThe SSO was discovered Tuesday morning. The majority of the current overflow is coming from manholes near the Reddy Branch Wastewater Pumping Station at 2611 Brighton Dam Road in the Brookeville/Olney area. The pumping station was shut down to relieve pressure on the sewer main and facilitate repair of the break. WSSC will resume hauling overflow from the pumping station using trucks, which was discontinued due to weather. This will also help reduce the flow into the waterway.

As of this morning, we have dug 18 feet down to the buried pipe. We will excavate the entire length of the pipe until the broken section is located. WSSC crews and contractors have been on the scene continuously working to discover the location of the break since Tuesday, March 5. The pipe is located near several other underground utility lines which makes the effort more difficult.

Drinking water is safe! Our method of water filtration that prepares the drinking water for our customers includes disinfection as part of the process. And, as always, testing of the water is conducted continuously.

At this point, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million gallons of wastewater has flowed into Reddy Branch Creek. Reddy Branch Creek feeds into the Hawlings River, which feeds into the Patuxent River upstream from the WSSC Rocky Gorge reservoir. However, due to the location, the amount of spillage and the amount of water in the reservoir (approximately 5 billion gallons), the spill will be diluted long before it reaches the water intakes of the Patuxent Water Filtration Plant. In addition, it is doubtful that pathogens can survive the current water temperature.

Signs warning citizens to avoid the overflow areas have been posted and WSSC crews will clean up any debris. The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Montgomery County Department of the Environmental Protection have been notified of the situation.

Customers with questions should call the WSSC Emergency Customer Call Center at 301-206-4002.

WSSC is committed to protecting the health of the public and the environment. With nearly 5,400 miles of sewer mains throughout its service area, WSSC appreciates notification from citizens if a sewer back up is suspected. Citizens can call 301-206-4002 or toll free 1-800-828-6439 at any time to report water or sewer emergencies in Prince George's or 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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