After setting off a firestorm of complaints in response to a possible days-long loss of water service in southern Prince George’s County, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission changed course and said residents will no longer lose service while a water main undergoes repairs.
Despite the change, residents in the identified area are still under mandatory water restrictions.
“We were dealing with the worst-case scenario,” Jerry N. Johnson, WSSC general manager/CEO, said Wednesday afternoon of initial plans to cut off water service. “We had no idea ... that they could get in and do this work in place. We have averted a major disaster.”
Johnson said work done overnight Tuesday by WSSC employees reduced the amount of pipeline that needed to be shut down.
More than 100,000 people in the area of National Harbor, Andrews Air Force Base, Oxon Hill, Morningside, Temple Hills, Forest Heights, Hillcrest Heights and Camp Springs were expected to lose water for up to five days as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s through Saturday, and the heat index neared 100 degrees, according to forecasts.
WSSC officials announced Tuesday that replacing parts of a large 54-inch pipe in the woods inside the Beltway between Forestville Road and Suitland Parkway, would require a water shut-off early Wednesday morning.
Under the restrictions, residents are asked to use water only as necessary such as taking shorter showers, turning off faucets after washing hands, limiting flushing toilets, postponing using washing machines and dishwashers, and stopping all outside water use, such as topping off swimming pools, watering lawns or washing cars.