Boil water advisory lifted in southern Prince George’s Co.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Tuesday morning lifted the boil water advisory in southern Prince George’s County.

And, Indian Head Highway between Fort Washington Road and Old Fort Road in Prince George’s County reopened shortly after midnight Tuesday morning.

It had been closed since Sunday after a 36-inch water main burst, forcing Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to put a boil water advisory in effect for southern Prince George’s County.

The boil water advisory — which WSSC said is precautionary — was issued Sunday evening for the area west of Indian Head Highway/Md. 210 to the Potomac River, and from the D.C. line south to Piscataway Creek. Oxon Hill, National Harbor and Fort Washington are included in the advisory, as are a few small areas east of Md. 210.

Here is a full map of the area that was affected.

boil water map
The boil water advisory affected Oxon Hill and Fort Washington Sunday night. (Courtesy WSSC)

Those who live in the affected area had to bring water to a rolling boil for 3 minutes and then allow it to cool before using it for eating and drinking.

Two rounds of water quality testing have found the water to be safe to drink.

Now that the advisory has been lifted, WSSC advises residents to take the following precautions before using the water.

  • Run all cold-water lines for 5 minutes.
  • If you have a single-lever faucet, set it to run the cold water.
  • Begin with the lowest faucet in your home or business and then open the other faucets one at a time, moving from your lowest floor to your highest.
  • After 5 minutes, turn off your faucets in reverse order, from highest to lowest.
  • You should also flush your refrigerator’s water lines.
  • All ice made since the precautionary advisory was put in place Sunday evening should be thrown out, as well as the next three batches.
  • Ice maker containers should be wiped clean with a solution of two tablespoons bleach to one gallon of water.

The advisory was necessary after the water main break because there is an increased risk of contamination. Roughly 23,000 customers were affected.

The water main break occurred early Sunday afternoon on a 36-inch pipe that runs along Md. 210. Southbound lanes of Indian Head Highway were initially closed between Fort Washington Road and Old Fort Road, but reopened around 2:30 p.m.


Widespread alert

Getting word out about the boil water advisory caused some confusion.

Some local cell phones began blowing emergency tones overnight Monday for something that didn’t apply to the recipients.

It was WSSC getting the word out about the boil water advisory .

The alert extended into areas broader than necessary and stretched into Northern Virginia, but a WSSC spokeswoman told WTOP that’s better than some people not being warned about taking precautions to boil their water. And Fairfax County water customers would have realized that an WSSC alert does not apply to them.

Prince George’s County activated the emergency alert in coordination with the commission.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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