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Water Main Break Forces 90,000 to Boil Water in Prince George's County Through Inauguration Day, National Harbor Affected

More than 90,000 homes and businesses in a wide swath of Prince George's County that includes National Harbor are being told to boil their water through Inauguration Day as officials run tests in the wake of a massive water main break Saturday in Temple Hills.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced early Sunday morning that it had extended its boil water through at least 11 p.m. Tuesday night. It also expanded the area affected by the order to include National Harbor and Route 210 to Fort Washington.

The order requires people in that area boil water that they would drink in any fashion, including water used for washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice, said commission spokesman Mike McGill. The announcement will almost certainly complicate plans for inaugural parties and balls in the area, he said.

On the bright side, the 90,000 people left without any water service Saturday started to get it back Sunday morning, McGill said. Those people had been without water since a 42-inch water main burst along the back yard of a home in the 5000 block of Henderson Road about 2 a.m. Saturday and a second "service disruption" in the area baffled investigators, McGill said. About 2:30 a.m. Sunday, officials determined that disruption was the result of a valve needing to be opened in the vicinity of the break, he said.

Previously, the boil water order was indefinite and had affected the area south of the District of Columbia, north of the Henson Creek Stream Valley Park, east of Indian Head Highway (210) and west of Silver Hill Road (Maryland Highway 458) and Suitland Parkway. McGill said those wondering if they are affected by the new borders can check a detailed map on the commission's Web site. Folks can also sign up for an e-mail notification system there.

Officials must now run two consecutive sets of test to make sure no bacteria got into the water system while pressure was down, McGill said. Each of those tests takes a little more than 24 hours, he said.

By Matt Zapotosky

By David A Nakamura  |  January 18, 2009; 9:21 AM ET  | Category:  In the Community , Security
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