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Cheh Asks Fenty to Appoint Leader on Water Pressure Issues

The hearing led by Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) about water supply and firefighting is under way, with Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin, D.C. WASA Interim General Manager Avis Marie Russell and other fire and water officials answering questions about available water supply. A frequent point of discussion is the fire on Chain Bridge Road in July that destroyed the home of Peggy Cooper Cafritz and whether firefighters had enough water to fight the four-alarm blaze.

WASA and the fire department say they are working on the issues, but Ward 3 Council member Mary M. Cheh (D) said in an opening statement that that is not enough. Cheh wrote a letter to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) this week asking that he appoint a senior official "to serve as the District's full-time point-person to ensure that there is adequate water pressure throughout the District." The person's job would be to make sure that the two agencies are cooperating, and to hold them to a timetable.

"We need a new standard for judging adequate water supply, testing of all flows, on-the-ground assessment of obstacles, and specific plans for dealing with immediate, near term, and longer term problems," Cheh wrote.

Both agencies are currently reporting to the Office of City Administrator Neil A. Albert on the investigation into the Chain Bridge Road fire, and it's not clear how this post's duties would complement or differ from his.

For more information about the status of the city's hydrants, check out our coverage in today's Post.

-- Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  September 25, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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