WSSC water main monitoring needs to be reviewed, councilman says

The 60-inch main broke near Connecticut Avenue in March, cutting off water for days. Photo: WSSC

As many as 800 water mains throughout Montgomery County are of the same design as the one that ruptured under Connecticut Avenue last month, Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner said Wednesday, and he thinks a review of the system that monitors the pipes needs to be done.

Speaking on WTOP Wednesday morning, Berliner said that they thought the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission had a monitoring system in place that could assure the public that it was safe. However, that system didn't detect the catastrophic March 19 break in Chevy Chase.

The aging 60-inch main break cut off hot water, gas and heat for many nearby residents and led to water usage restrictions for nearly a week.

"Now we find out that the monitoring system we have does not detect the kind of breaks that happened on Connecticut Avenue," Berliner told WTOP. "There's a potential to break some place else.

Berliner did say that this was the first time the system failed to detect a potential break, but also says the pressure should still be on WSSC, which provides water service for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties, to assure customers that their water service is reliable.

"We are going to be pressing them, and they are very interested in trying to figure out what happened here and what they have to do to provide the assurance our community needs," Berliner said.

WSSC engineers laid blame for the break on premature corrosion of the pipe, which was installed in 1980.

You can hear the entire interview at