WSSC is Prepared as Wet Wintry Weather Approaches

Spokespeople Available to Provide Details on Winter Operations

| Media Advisory



Laurel – December 14, 2016: WSSC stands ready as forecasts call for the coldest weather since last February and some of the coldest December weather in the last several years. When temperatures drop precipitously, water main breaks occur more frequently. WSSC is operating under its emergency winter operation mode, and is ready to tackle the coming winter months.

Here are the steps WSSC is taking to do our best to help our customers:

  • We have a 24/7 rapid response call center that quickly dispatches our crews.
  • More than 200 personnel are strategically placed throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to respond.
  • Independent contractors are readily available to assist WSSC.
  • Hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment are at the ready.
  • We use GIS to help track and schedule maintenance and replacement activities.

WSSC maintains 5,784 miles of water mains and more than a third of the Commission’s water mains are over 50 years old. November through February are typically the busiest months for water main breaks and WSSC can experience as many as 600 in a given month. WSSC averages 1,795 breaks a year (this is a 10 year average from FY07-FY16).

Customers are encouraged to report a suspected broken 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 plumbing on our customers’ property, 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.
  • On extremely cold nights open cabinet doors to expose your pipes to your home’s warmth.
  • Let your kitchen or bathroom faucets drip slowly to keep water moving. 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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