WSSC Responds to Wastewater Spills at Western Branch Water Resource Recovery Facility

Excess Rainfall Overwhelms Facility Treatment Capacity

| News Release



Drinking Water System NOT Impacted

Laurel, Md. – December 17, 2018 – WSSC experienced three wastewater spills totaling approximately 165,000 gallons at its Western Branch Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) on Crain Highway in Upper Marlboro on Sunday, December 16. All the spills were contained to the plant grounds and did not affect local waterways.

The first spill began at about 5:00 a.m. on Sunday and lasted for about six hours. The second spill began at 6:00 p.m. and lasted for about seven hours, and the third spill began at approximately 6:45 p.m. and lasted for about six hours and 15 minutes.

The Western Branch WRRF is designed to treat about 30 million gallons of wastewater per day (MGD). During the historic rain event, the wastewater flow coming into the plant exceeded 90 MGD. 

It is important to note that WSSC’s water and wastewater systems are separate. These spills are NOT affecting WSSC’s drinking water.

WSSC has made appropriate notifications to the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Prince George’s County Health Department. 

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 notifications from citizens if a sewer overflow or water main break is suspected. Citizens can call WSSC’s 24-hour Emergency Call Center at 301-206-4002 to report water or sewer emergencies in Prince George’s or Montgomery counties. Customers can also report emergencies via email at and those customers who have smart phones can report emergencies using the WSSC Mobile App.

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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