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Freezing Temps Create Water Problems


Clopper Mill Hydrant.JPG

By Kevin O’Rourke

A fire hydrant blew off its moorings creating a river of water flowing down Cinnamon Drive on Thursday night.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission confirmed that at about 5:00 pm Thursday evening the fire hydrant in front of Clopper Mill Elementary School broke off from the 10 inch water main it was connected to creating a rush of water running down the street and flooding the Clopper Mill School fields.

“The hydrant is attached to the main by a valve and lateral pipe, and somehow the lateral broke,” said Jerry Irvine, public affairs manager for WSSC. “This happens sometimes.”

Although no residents and the school did not suffer a loss of water service some residents might have noticed that their water was a bit brown.

“The water supply to area homes and the school has not been affected,” said Irvine. “However, when a hydrant ruptures like this the volume of water flowing through the pipes is often greatly increased which picks up the sediment in the pipes and can cause discoloration of the water. We recommend that residents with brown water just run their faucets and flush their lines. The water should clear up shortly.”

On Friday, WSSC crews were out in front of Clopper Mill Elementary working to repair the break and install a new fire hydrant.

Cold weather coupled with aging infrastructure is a perfect recipe for water main breaks; 408 to be exact during the month of January 2015, according to WSSC. The fluctuation in temperature is tough on water mains, especially the older ones. WSSC tracks the Potomac River temperature and the number of water main breaks on a daily basis.

Customers can also report breaks via WSSC’s mobile app, as well as check service alerts and pay their bill. There’s also a service alerts page on our website that shows current repair jobs on an interactive map that allows users to search by address.

Customers should remember, breaks or leaks can be reported to WSSC’s 24/7 emergency call center: 301-206-4002.

“Going without water when a main breaks is certainly an inconvenience and I want to thank our customers for their patience while we make repairs,” said Jerry N. Johnson, General Manager/CEO. “I’m also grateful to customers who take the time to report breaks because the sooner we know about a break, the sooner we can fix it. Our crews, both in the field and in our call centers are here to help our customers.”

Indeed, Montgomery County Recreation announced that a broken water line has forced the closure of the Plum Gar Recreation Center on Scenery Drive through Sunday, Feb. 8.

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