UPDATE: WSSC Crews Complete Repairs to Ruptured Sewer Main at Piscataway Wastewater Treatment Plant

Around-the-Clock Effort on Complex Repair to Aging Pipe

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Drinking Water System Not Affected

LAUREL, MD – March 17, 2017: WSSC today announced completion of repairs to the ruptured 20-inch pressurized sewer main at the Piscataway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Accokeek. The plant has now returned to normal operations. The 52-year-old cast iron main broke on February 9, 2017, causing approximately 3.35 million gallons of untreated wastewater to overflow into Piscataway Creek before temporary pumps were set up later the same evening to divert the flow into on-site retention basins.

“This sewer main break was a massive, complicated emergency repair and our dedicated crews did an amazing job working around the clock to contain the wastewater and replace this 52-year-old pipe,” said WSSC General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid. “Repairing and replacing aging infrastructure is a priority for WSSC, and this one break demonstrates the challenges faced by water and wastewater utilities nationwide with underground pipes.”

By February 15, WSSC crews had installed more than 6,000 feet of temporary pipes to bypass the broken sewer main and safely pump all wastewater to the plant for treatment. The around-the-clock repairs were complicated by a concrete-encased structure containing high voltage lines. Once the electric lines were de-energized, crews were able to break away the concrete and excavate 20 feet to reach the sewer line. More than 60 feet of damaged pipe was removed and replaced. The total cost of the emergency repairs is approximately $1.3 million.

In addition to the repairs, crews drained the retention basins sending the untreated wastewater to the plant for treatment. Crews then analyzed the retention basin soil and determined an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater permeated the soil in the retention basins.

WSSC has been in continuous communication with officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Prince George’s County Health Department throughout the repair process. The Piscataway Plant treats about 24 million gallons of wastewater per day.

It is important to note that WSSC’s water and wastewater systems are separate. This overflow did NOT affect WSSC’s drinking water.

WSSC documented this complicated emergency repair job and the challenges of replacing aging infrastructure in this video

WSSC is committed to protecting the health of the public and the environment. With more than 5,500 miles of sewer mains throughout its service area, WSSC appreciates notification from citizens if a sewer backup or water main break is suspected. Please call our 24-hour Emergency Call Center at 301-206-4002 to report water or sewer emergencies in Montgomery or Prince George's counties. Customers can also report emergencies via email at emergencycallcenter@wsscwater.com and through the WSSC Mobile App.

Established in 1918, today WSSC is among the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation. We proudly serve the 1.8 million residents of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, providing life’s most precious resource. WSSC drinking water has always met or exceeded federal standards.

 

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