WSSC plans to repair 31 miles of water mains

Twice in four days.

The 30-inch water main that broke on Osborne Road in Prince George’s County, Maryland on Wednesday, and then again on Saturday, is familiar to repair crews with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Luis Maya, spokesperson with WSSC, said the 48-year old main on Osborne Road near Crain Highway has broken eight times since 2001.

“So, this is an unfortunate reality of aging infrastructure, right? We do have a comprehensive infrastructure review and planning program. So this pipe actually is part of that program. And it’s scheduled to be replaced next spring,” said Maya.

Wednesday’s water main break in Upper Marlboro drew attention after a driver ignored a detour and his car plunged into the massive sinkhole caused by the failure of the main.

Maya said the project for next spring will replace a two-mile stretch of the 30-inch main, from Crain Highway to Route 4.

The recent water main break caused some headaches for business owners as well as drivers while repairs were taking place. However, Maya said that when long-term projects like the Osborne Road main, scheduled for next spring, are planned, there will be lots of community outreach.

“Before we even go in there with the boots in the ground,” said Maya, there will be discussions with residents and businesses in the area that will be directly impacted. “When we talk to them, we lay out the plans and really have a conversation on what they can expect,” he said.

The repairs along Osborne Road are just part the plans for the year ahead that will include fixes across the WSSC service area, which includes Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, said Maya. In all, 31 miles of pipes will be replaced.

There are 5,800 miles of water main lines in the WSSC system and 40% of those are 50 years old or older, said Maya. Decisions on which segments get fixed first aren’t always based on age, but their condition, he added.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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