WSSC is Winter Ready!

Anacostia Depot Event Featured Valve Closing and Pipe Repair Demonstrations

| News Release



Laurel – November 10, 2015: WSSC is winter ready! At the Commission’s Anacostia Depot today, crews showed members of the media how to close a valve on a broken water main and then make repairs to the pipe.

The demonstration was part of an event to detail WSSC’s plans for the busy winter water main break season. Cold weather plus aging infrastructure equals an increase in water main breaks.

Acting Chief of Utility Services Calvin Farr was on hand for the event and stressed that the Commission is ready for the busy winter season. “We know, in the winter, our crews could be faced with 400 to 600 water main breaks during a single month,” Farr said. “We stock our depots with the necessary equipment, have extra crews on standby and are committed to restoring service for our customers as quickly as possible.”

WSSC maintains 5,647 miles of water mains and a total of 65,022 valves. More than a third of the Commission’s water mains are over 50 years old and the valves required to close those mains are often equally as old.

Customers are encouraged to report a suspected water main as soon as possible. The sooner we know about a break, the sooner we can fix it. It is also a good idea to keep on hand 1-2 gallons of safe tap or bottled water per person per day for emergencies. A three-day supply of water is ideal, including water for pets.

While WSSC is not responsible for our customers’ indoor plumbing, we feel it is important to share information that can help keep their pipes and water meters from freezing during the winter.

  • Repair broken windows, doors and walls.
  • Tightly close all doors and windows.
  • Insulate outside walls.
  • Check with your local hardware store about materials to insulate pipes and meters.
  • Seal all leaks in crawl spaces and basements.
  • Cover vents from the inside with insulation, cardboard, plastic or newspaper, if they will not close. 
  • Turn off the water to outside faucets, remove hoses and drain the pipes.

If a Pipe Freezes:

  • Completely open the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe. This relieves the pressure and reduces the chance of breakage.
  • Use a hand-held dryer if you decide to thaw the pipe yourself.
  • If you're not certain what to do, call a registered plumber.

WSSC maintains the pipes in the street, the connections to homes and businesses and outdoor water meters. Inside water meters are the responsibility of the property owner. Visit for a complete list of winter preparation tips.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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