Major Water Crisis Averted; Restrictions Remain in Pr. George’s County

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WPGC and The Pablo Show hand out water in Pr. George's County. (credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

WPGC and The Pablo Show hand out water in Pr. George’s County. (credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Pablo Show will broadcast live at the Safeway in Rivertowne handing out water until the problem is fixed. Bring ID if you reside in one of the affected areas.

OXON HILL, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — After a day of dreading a water outage they were told could last up to five days, Prince George’s County residents can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced Wednesday that it appears a full-on outage has been avoided due to developments in the replacement of a 54-inch main. Mandatory restrictions remain in place, and if strict conservation continues the system shouldn’t be completely without water before the pipe repair is complete.

Interactive Map of Impacted Areas

Originally, WSSC said at least 200,000 people could be without water for days.

The near crisis began when WSSC received an alert from a warning system for a 4-½-foot water main earlier this week. Utility and county officials urged residents to stock up on water before the repairs began.

The water main was shutdown around midnight Wednesday and WSSC says reserves could run out as early as Wednesday. Officials originally forecast the reserves to last up to 15 hours.

Mandatory water restrictions began late Tuesday in several communities.

MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS
1. Stop all outside water use – no watering lawns, shrubs, flowers; no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools
2. Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands
3. Limit flushing toilets (do not flush after every use)
4. Postpone using washing machines and dishwashers

The restrictions are impacting several southern Prince George’s County communities including Joint Base Andrews and National Harbor. Other communities affected include Morningside, Hillcrest Heights, Camp Springs, Forest Heights, Temple Hills and Oxon Hill.

WHERE TO GO FOR WATER

The projected lengthy water main replacement was to leave residents with empty taps and force restaurants and hotels to close their doors, unable to do basic things like provide guests with showers and wash dishes. Joint Base Andrews had shutting down all but the most critical operations, and the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center announced that it was closing Wednesday.

COOLING CENTERS

The failing 54-inch water main is similar to a broken main that plagued Chevy Chase in March, according to the WSSC.

Water Storage Information
1. Store 1-2 gallons of safe water per person per day.
2. “Safe” is tap water in clean containers or store bought bottled water.
3. Store 1-2 gallons of purchased distilled water for any individuals with chronic health problems including weakened immune systems.
4. Store tap water in airtight, clean, food-grade plastic containers.
5. Do not store drinking water in glass or used milk containers.
6. Don’t forget to store water for your pets to drink.
7. You can use the water in your hot-water tank and ice cubes.
8. Water stored in a bath tub or swimming pool can be used to flush toilets.
9. Don’t forget, most people in the area are NOT affected. So contact relatives and friends and ask for their assistance.

WSSC Alerts
Water Restrictions Map
WSSC Main Website

Follow @WPGC and sister-station @WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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