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Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

New record for Md. water main breaks

By Washington Post editors

Officials from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said they responded to 647 broken and leaking water main breaks in December -- a record for a single month. That number surpasses the mark set in January 2009, when crews responded to 608 broken and leaking water mains.

In all, crews repaired 2,096 broken and leaking water mains in 2010, just 30 breaks shy of the all-time record of 2,126* set in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010, WSSC experienced 7,728 breaks and leaks. Jerry N. Johnson, WSSC's general manager, said that on some days crews fixed more than 30 breaks.

WSSC serves customers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

“Our aging distribution system was hit hard by the colder-than-normal December temperatures,” Johnson said.

He cautioned that the system's aging infrastructure puts it at risk for more leaks and breaks unless more funding is secured. WSSC officials say that more than a quarter of WSSC water mains are over 50 years old.

But a Washington Post investigation found that a lack of funding may not be the only factor that has prevented the utility from replacing its aging infrastructure.

By Washington Post editors  | January 5, 2011; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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