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No Water Outage In Prince George's County, But Plenty Of Questions

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WSSC is still replacing a broken 54-inch water main, but the expected water outage hasn't come to pass.
WAMU/Matt Bush
WSSC is still replacing a broken 54-inch water main, but the expected water outage hasn't come to pass.

Just as the water was supposed to run out on nearly 300,000 residents in Prince George's County, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced it found a solution to avoid a days-long shortage.

Prince George's County executive Rushern Baker chose his words very carefully when discussing the WSSC's work, congratulating only their workers and never mentioning the commission's leadership—who only told him of the possibility of a valve fix that allowed for the water shortage to be avoided just yesterday morning.

"I observed the men and women of the WSSC, the ones who were actually on the ground, working hard and diligently. We want to make sure that we are completely out of the woods and then after that then we will make sure the residents of Prince George's County, or any of the areas served by the WSSC, have to go through something like this," he said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Chief among Baker's questions: Did the WSSC know of this potential fix during Tuesday's day-long drumbeat of warning residents to stockpile water, an issue many might now view as an over-reaction since the shortage never happened?

"I want to see when they first knew of this other option. How soon they were able to tell us other than this morning. And how can we make sure we have all this information when we make an announcement," he said.

Appearing on WAMU 88.5's All Things Considered, WSSC spokesman I.J. Hudson explained why they waited until noon yesterday to announce the valve fix and averted shortage: "We wanted to be sure that it actually worked."

The mandatory water restrictions in the area will remain in effect for a few more days until the new water main is fully operational.


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