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Posted at 4:36 PM ET, 07/ 2/2010

WSSC customers not cutting back enough

By Washington Post editors

A day after the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission appealed for shorter showers and a ban on outside watering took effect, usage dropped by about 25 million gallons, only about a third of the goal, said commission spokeswoman Lyn Riggins.

Officials in Montgomery warned in an alert that “residents continue to use more water during daylight hours than the system is producing.”

The commission has a number of tanks it refills while the region sleeps to help manage supplies, and officials said there was no immediate threat. “We’re not in any sort of dangerous situation right now of running out,” Riggins said.

But keeping supplies and water pressure up in the system — crucial for helping firefighters douse potential blazes and keeping bacteria from seeping into the water supply — needs every drip of assistance residents can give, Riggins added. “We appreciate everyone’s conservation, but it’s not nearly enough at this point,” she said.

About 1.8 million people in Montgomery and Prince George's counties have been ordered to stop watering their lawns and washing their cars and limit their use of toilets, dishwashers and washing machines through the Fourth of July weekend after officials shut down a huge water main in Potomac on Thursday.

-- Michael Laris

By Washington Post editors  | July 2, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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I dont know why they're surprised water usage isnt cut by more than it is. If I was an affected customer, I wouldn't be too concerned with reducing my usage either. I'd reduce for a drought, but not because WSSC was delinquent in replacing a 40 year old section of pipe.

Posted by: ASW02 | July 2, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

What on earth is ASW02 thinking? Whatever you may think about WSSC, the people who will benefit from using less are all of us. We are the ones who need enough water to fight fires and keep the system from being contaminated.

Posted by: Chaucer2 | July 2, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

They're liberals and they have a sense of entitlement. We'll take the water now and let our children make it up.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 2, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

ASW02 is the perfect example of the PG, MoCo mind set. Bitter Bill nailed it. All WSSC, PG, MoCo 'powers that be' had to do is look at the comments after the first story yesterday and they would have known that the majority of the residents would do exactly as they pleased. Rules / cooperation are for the other folks, not me...lmao

Posted by: Ratzoe | July 2, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. This is a commuity issue, not a political freeforall. Just cut off your sprinkler and become part of the solution. Your frigging lawn will survive. Water your tomatoes from a can.

Posted by: barlef | July 2, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Poor, confused BitterBill. He thinks it's liberals who take money and run up deficits when recent history clearly shows the Republicans doing this. And ASWO2, how many thousands of dollars per quarter are you willing pay to have the streets being constantly torn up to replace 30 year old mains with new ones that may not perform any better. Talk about wasting money. WSSC had done a good job of finding a problem before it erupted and now they need just a little cooperation to get it fixed. If you want reliable service at an affordable cost, do your part.

Posted by: vmax02rider | July 3, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Some people just LOVE to argue!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | July 3, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

When you read many of these comments, it is easy to see why the United States is not exactly thriving any more. It is not the President; it is the pop culture of do your own thing and who cares about the common good?

Note to ASW02.
I believe that if the water demand gets higher than can flow through the piping, the pressure in the piping decreases enough that the water becomes contaminated from whatever is in the ground. So, there is good reason even for the self centered to coooperate, since they are hoping for clean water, too.

Posted by: Torishimariyaku | July 3, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Ratzoe, the only thing bitter_bill nailed is your @ss. Both of you are dumb homos.

Posted by: bendan2000 | July 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Here's a paraphrase of Bitter_bill's comment: "We'll drill for the oil and not worry about how much carbon gets added to the atmosphere now and let our children worry about climate change when, or if, it happens". Bitter_bill is misunderstanding the basic tenets of American conservatism and liberalism. They both have legitimate points of view, but it is today's conservatives who typically make the argument that people should have whatever they want now, and the market will work things out later (in other words - use whatever water you want - don't let the government tell you otherwise), while it is liberals who think government can help people make better choices (in other words, save water for the good of the community).

Politics aside - unless a catastrophic break was imminent (which doesn't appear to be the case from anything that has been publicly released) WSSC should have waited until after the holiday weekend to commence a long term maintenance effort.

Posted by: sbklein | July 3, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bendan2000
Ratzoe, the only thing bitter_bill nailed is your @ss. Both of you are dumb homos.

Gee, ben, you must be part of the party of hate. Since when does advocating community cooperation and speaking against the attitudes of some of the folks here set you off? Your comment says alot about you, my friend. I know I're very open minded until someone doesn't agree with you..Enjoy!!

Posted by: Ratzoe | July 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Two hydrants on Tucker Road in Fort Washinton have been running day and night for months. Why is it OK for WSSC to waste all that water while asking PG Cty residents to cut back? Just a thought.....

Posted by: Christian1941 | July 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

sbklein - I'd think that water usage is LOWER during the holiday weekend when folks are out of town, and offices and the like are not using water. This might be the best time to do the repairs.
I do think it would have been a nice touch if the fine folks at WSSC added the helpful hint that "if you need to do laundry, run the dishwasher, etc., do it AT NIGHT when usage is lower." Even PEPCO has managed to get that line down.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | July 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Geez what do they expect? Not everyone reads local news everyday. It's going to take a few days for people to get the word.

If they really wanted to cut usage they would share part of that $500 fine with the neighborhood snitches and tattle-tails.

Posted by: juxtapos99 | July 3, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This is the first I've heard of this restriction. And I'm a renter who doesn't pay utilities, so how do I know if this affects me or not?

Posted by: Melaniekay | July 3, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Melaniekay, the question is not whether you're a renter. If you live in the affected area, they'd like your help in reducing water usage. Best thing is to presume that if you live in the affected counties you should reduce usage until after the holiday. If they're not your water provider, a couple of days without watering or washing things won't hurt, but it will help if they are.

sbklein, the reason they're doing it now is they're afraid the pipe will burst if they wait. Remember, they said there were multiple sounds of wires breaking. Too many break, and there goes the pipe. Remember when River Road became a river? It was what, 4 feet deep in places, and people had to be rescued from their cars? This pipe was substantially larger and thus would have been far worse. Plus, a burst pipe might have added boil water advisories to the area since they couldn't be certain if contaminants had gotten in the system.

Posted by: barbaramusser | July 3, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It is business that are the problem, not households. Can McD's or TGI Friday's tell all of their customers to flush every other time? Can businesses reduce using water when they have to clean down counter tops or mop grocery floors during one of the busiest holidays of the year?????? Think about it...

Posted by: mebyrns | July 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The Post failed to do a competent job of identifying who are the people being told to use less water: every WSSC customer in the two counties. The Post has never explicitly said that, and should have, in the lead sentence.

Posted by: jimdq | July 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, looking at the drop in usage a different way, Montgomery County and PG County residents cut their use by an average of about 12 gallons each -- or about 8 flushes per man, woman, and child. Possibly even conservative homophobes have also decided to do something to help their community -- or there are a number of normal people who are making up for them.

So, while it would be good to cut consumption even more, just in principle, in reality it does seem that people ARE making an effort.

Posted by: edallan | July 3, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I just reported the Olney Boys and Girls Club running their huge sprinklers to water a playing field. I was so annoyed by that, I emailed WSSC. The reply was that they needed my phone number. What a crock. There is a big violation they need to check on.

Posted by: shadowshopper1981 | July 3, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they offer a credit based on how much water they saved onto the next bill? I am sure people would do it if there was an incentive

Posted by: WhatBubble | July 3, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Yes vmax02rider they have done a great job...

Posted by: askgees | July 3, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I just reported the Olney Boys and Girls Club running their huge sprinklers to water a playing field. I was so annoyed by that, I emailed WSSC. The reply was that they needed my phone number. What a crock. There is a big violation they need to check on.

Posted by: shadowshopper1981 | July 3, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This only applies to us peasants not to our keepers. More fantastic wok as mentioned by vmax02rider by WSSC. LOL

I wonder if this idi0t works for WSSC??? He's probably the one who was responsible for the maintenance...

Posted by: askgees | July 3, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@ barbaramusser, sorry, my question wasn't very clear. I meant that because I'm a renter, I don't see the water bill, which means I wasn't sure if this was the water co. that provided our water or if there were multiple water companies in the county. But you answered my question and we have been conserving water. As others pointed out, the Post article and the water co. website did not make it very clear which people were affected and yet they're "yelling" at everyone that we're not doing our part. I can't imagine too many people, on this holiday weekend, are reading or watching the news. I just happened to stumble across it because I'm a news junkie.

Posted by: Melaniekay | July 3, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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