WSSC Not Second-Guessing Materials As They Lift Water Restrictions | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

WSSC Not Second-Guessing Materials As They Lift Water Restrictions

Play associated audio
The 54-inch pipe that burst was made of concrete, but the WSSC says the material doesn't matter.
Matt Bush
The 54-inch pipe that burst was made of concrete, but the WSSC says the material doesn't matter.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says repairs to a major pipe that nearly caused a water shortage in Prince George's County should be completed this weekend. In the mean time, water restrictions have been lifted.

The WSSC has had some high-profile problems with its water mains in recent years. This particular pipe was able to be taken out of service before it actually burst. But it was made of concrete, similar to other WSSC pipes that have broken recently, like the 2008 River Road incident where drivers were rescued via helicopter from their vehicles.

WSSC spokesman Jim Neustadt says all this week's situation has in common with the River Road break, so far, is the material makeup of the pipe.

"Rock and installation and the pipe. There were several things there," Neustadt says. "We don't know what the story is with this one yet. We haven't had the chance to look at it and figure it out."

The replacement pipe being installed right now in Forestville, Md., is made of iron. Neustadt is quick to say that's not an indictment of the durability of their concrete pipes.

"We find that there's only 1 to 2 percent that there is a problem with," Neustadt says. "And we replace or repairs those as we take those pipes out of service."

Neustadt adds that taking all the concrete pipes out of service at once to replace them out of fear more might rupture would leave customers without water for a lengthy period of time. He likens large water mains to major roads — specifically the three that link D.C. and Baltimore: I-95, the BW Parkway, and Route 29.

"If one of them goes out, you're still OK. If two of them go out, you got a problem but you're still OK. If all three of them go out, you got a big, big problem," he says.

Mandatory water restrictions will remain in effect in southern Prince George's County until the new section of pipe in Forestville is operating.

NPR

Bringing Tales Of WWII To American Radios And Bookshelves

Bill Shirer brought stories of war in Europe into American homes. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Ken Cuthbertson about his new book, A Complex Fate: William L. Shirer and the American Century.
NPR

Trickster Journalist Explains Why He Duped The Media On Chocolate Study

John Bohannon, the man behind a stunt that bamboozled many news organizations into publishing junk science on dieting, talks to NPR's Robert Siegel about why he carried out the scheme.
NPR

Hastert Due To Be Arraigned Next Week

The Los Angeles Times reports that the FBI spoke with two individuals who made accusations of sexual abuse against the former Speaker of the House.
NPR

Tech Giants Compete ... For Your Vacation Albums

With ballgames, family reunions and trips to the beach, summer is full of chances to snap photos. Apple and Google are in a battle to help you store, organize and share all those visual mementos.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.