As Temperatures Plummet WSSC Prepares for Spike in Water Main Breaks

| News Release



Laurel  – January 21, 2014: Today’s snow storm is bringing sub-zero temperatures back to the region, likely through Friday. The Polar Vortex that chilled the area two weeks ago provided a reminder that WSSC’s aging infrastructure can experience a spike in water main breaks due to sudden changes in temperature. One-third of WSSC’s water pipes are more than 50 years old. When colder than normal water starts moving through old and brittle pipes a spike in breaks and leaks is likely to occur.

Despite experiencing 324 water main breaks and leaks so far this year, currently there are only 5 breaks or leaks awaiting repair by WSSC crews. In 2013, November was the busiest month of the year with 337 breaks and leaks. Overall, WSSC crews repaired 1691 breaks and leaks in 2013, which is slightly above the 1,601 in 2012, but below the record high of 2,126 set in 2007. This chartshows how cold temperatures correspond to water main breaks and leaks.

Customers who spot a break or leak can call WSSC’s 24/7 rapid response center for emergency calls: (800) 828-6439 or (301) 206-4002. Customers can also check on service alerts, report a problem (even send a photo) or pay their bill with WSSC’s mobile app. WSSC’s Service Alert page shows active repair jobs on an interactive map that allows users to search by address. WSSC’s Customer Notification System (CNS) alerts customers via text and/or email when breaks affect service and daily routines. (Customers must register for the Customer Notification System).

Frigid temperatures can also cause pipes to freeze and burst. For prevention tips and to learn what to do if pipes do freeze, customers can visit WSSC’s web site. WSSC is responsible for water mains in the street and the connections to your home or business, but not the pipes on your property.

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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