Water mains, school buses on Montgomery County Council’s plate

Prince George\'s County hopes to unveil a pilot program at the beginning of the next school year to equip buses like these with cameras to catch drivers illegally passing them. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

WASHINGTON — When major water mains break, it can turn a roadway into a raging river, and send a geyser of water skyward. So what are the plans for preventing the breaks?

In 2008, Sharon Schoem was on River Road when a huge water main ruptured, spewing chunks of pavement into the air, flooding the roadway and turning it into “a muddy river,” she remembers.

Since then, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has installed state-of-the- art equipment to help alert them to pipes that are reaching a breaking point. But there are still questions about how the utility prevents and prepares for emergencies, and the Montgomery County Council is getting a draft report from an ad hoc committee on the issue.

The council is also taking a look at how to implement the laws surrounding the use of cameras on school buses in order to catch drivers who break the law by passing a stopped bus.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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