It wasn’t until late Tuesday night that two diligent techs got the corroded gears on a damaged water valve to finally work—meaning water could be redirected into smaller pipes and towards all those taps that were set to dry up for several days. It was tedious work to correct the problem, with the valve box about six to eight feet deep into the ground.
At the National Harbor, the signs greeting visitors informed them of the water outage situation. With restaurants and shops closed and hotel guests rushing to leave the area as soon as possible, it was very much a ghost town on Wednesday afternoon.
Willy Pharisian, visiting from New Mexico, had never heard of such a thing as water being shut down from three to five days. "That's way too long," he said.
Gaylord National, expecting to be out of water for days, closed the 2,000-room hotel at midday. And restaurant workers also returned, but only to prepare for the shutdown.
Rufus Mayfield: They told us yesterday, so we're just in there cleaning everything down."
In nearby Oxon Hill, Shakira Mceachin prepared for the outage by filling tubs of water in order to keep her hair salon in business.
Then we told her the news -- there would be no water outage after all.
The faucets that preemptively turned off Tuesday night never stopped flowing. And at the National Harbor and elsewhere, there were muted reactions to the news due to all of the disruption.
At half a million dollars per day, the shutdown was costly and a source of frustration for National Harbor’s Senior VP, Kent Digby: “I can't be angry about good news, but I'm anxious to see that it doesn't happen again.
Wallace Savoy from Camp Springs dumped out all of the water he had been saving in bowls, saying: "Come to find out, that was for nothing."
Like many others, Savoy had purchased dozens of gallons of drinking water, spending about $110 only to realize that he didn’t need to go to all the trouble.
"It was a waste of time, and right now a lot of people are confused and they're upset," says Grace Moore Toye of Oxon Hill.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker isn't criticizing WSSC, but says he does have some questions:
"I want to see when they first knew about this other option, how soon they were able to tell us other than this morning."
As for Wallace, he says if there's a next time, he won't take the warnings so seriously: "Probably not, probably not. I won't jump up and just run out. I'll just wait and see."