Prince George's County water outage impacts business countywide

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Business owners and hotel guests at National Harbor are bracing for a major blow to their bottom line once Prince George's County turns off the water starting Tuesday afternoon.

The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission announced late Monday night that a 54-inch water main near Forestville was in danger of imminent failure.

A senior executive with National Harbor in southern Prince George's County says they expect the impact from WSSC's work on the large, failing water line will be significant.

WSSC officials say that the complex and tens of thousands of residents of the county will be without water for 3-5 days.

On any given day, upwards of 20,000 people live, work and play in National Harbor. The impending water outage will have a devastating impact on local businesses.

“We’re going to have to cut a lot of labor and definitely close the restaurant so we won’t be making any money, so it’s going to be a couple of days off,” says Darrell Evans, who manages a National Harbor restaurant.

Most notably, the Gaylor National Resort and Conference Center is canceling all reservations for at least three nights. Once guests check out Wednesday, the hotel's 2,000 rooms will go vacant for the time being.

Two small conventions scheduled for the massive hotel complex have also been either canceled or moved. Three other hotels at National Harbor are facing the same circumstance.

“All of the hotels are going to have their water cut off,” says Demarris Evans.

Most hotel guests in National Harbor were unaware of the water problem and impact on their vacations. Those who were aware of the situation decided to cut their vacation short.

“We’re going to go home,” says Amy Budnick of Ohio. “I have three little kids and we can’t be guaranteed the water is going to be a safe place for us to eat.”

The water outage is expected to be the costliest event in National Harbor’s five-year history.

“You’re in the tune of half-million per day loss,” says Kent Dubnik, the senior vice president of National Harbor. “Call companies to see if they have any extra supplies if you’re a business and want to maintain a clientele.”

While the fountains and garden hoses Tuesday gave an impression of normalcy, it will be anything but that in 24 hours.

A WSSC spokesperson says that water restrictions will go into effect at 9 p.m. They expect the area's water supply to be depleted within 12-15 hours.