WASHINGTON — The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission expects to be very busy over the next six years as it prioritizes replacing aging pipes.
The WSSC, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, unveiled its capital improvement plans for the next six years.
WSSC’s Managing Director Jerry Johnson says the biggest chunk of the $1.7 billion in expenditures will go toward replacing aging pipes.
“We’re going to be replacing about 55 miles of small-diameter pipe,” he says.
Putting that into perspective, Acting Chief Financial Officer Chris Cullinan says it’s “slightly less than the length of the Capital Beltway.”
“We’re going to be in the pipe replacement business for a very, very long time. Essentially, we have a 100-year replacement cycle,” says Cullinan, who added that WSSC has more than 5,600 miles of pipe in its system.
Officials with the WSSC, including Johnson, outlined the six-year Capital Improvement Plans for the organization at two meetings: one in Prince George’s County and one in Montgomery County.
Earlier this summer, WSSC officials went before the public to discuss proposed additional fees to help cover the operating and maintenance costs. The county councils of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties — areas served by the WSSC — will have some say over that when they approve their budgets in May.