Engineers take closer look at failed pipe in PG County

FORESTVILLE, Md. (WJLA) -- Engineers gathered on Tuesday at the WSSC facility in Temple Hills to take a closer look at a section of pipe that caused a huge water scare in Prince George’s County last week.

Crews had to rush in to remove a 14-foot section of underground pipe in Camp Springs last week after early warning signals showed the nearly 50-year-old pipe was about to burst.

The fiber optic cords buried underground allow engineers to actually listen for the early signs of a pipe breaking. The first sign is the breaking of the wire bands wrapped around the pipe that weaken over time. When it breaks, it makes a pinging noise.

In Camp Springs, they were able to remove the failing section of pipe before it burst. But that wasn’t the case in Chevy Chase this past spring, when a section of pipe also about 50 years old burst without warning, leaving residents without water for days.

A final report released just this week revealed that the age of the pipe and a pinched gasket caused the break – and there was no early warning because the protective wires were not installed properly back in the 1960’s.

Because much of the underground pipe moving water through the entire D.C. area is at least 50 years old, WWSC remains on guard.