WSSC Suffers Nearly 2,000 Water Main Breaks, Leaks in Fiscal Year 2009
WSSC Suffers Nearly 2,000 Water Main
Breaks, Leaks in Fiscal Year 2009
Aging Infrastructure, January Cold Snap to Blame
for One of the Worst Years in WSSC History;
Rate Increase Takes Effect Today
Laurel, MD – July 1, 2009: After experiencing a record number of water main breaks and leaks this past January, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) announced today that the Commission suffered one of its worst fiscal years on record. A total of 1,972 breaks and leaks occurred in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Fiscal Year 2009, which runs between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. Since FY’ 97, only one fiscal year has been worse, FY’ 03, when 2,198 breaks and leaks occurred.
In January 2009 alone, WSSC, our ratepayers and the people of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties experienced 611 breaks and leaks, topping an all-time record for one month, 601 set in January 2003. More than 400 occurred in a 10-day period starting January 16, 2009, the beginning of Inauguration weekend.
This winter’s long cold snap and WSSC’s aging infrastructure served as the catalysts for the number of breaks and leaks. Many occurred on mains that are more than 50, 60 and even 70 years-old.
“While the past fiscal year was a difficult year for our ratepayers, they were extremely understanding and we thank them for their patience,” said Teresa D. Daniell, WSSC Interim General Manager. “Unfortunately, this situation is only going to get worse if we don’t address our aging infrastructure. Our public health, safety, economy and quality of life are all at stake.”
WSSC’s crews worked thousands of hours throughout the year repairing water mains, especially during the biting cold this January, in order to restore service to customers. With the cooperation of their union, crews worked mandatory 12-hour shifts at the height of the breaks. (Overtime had been optional, although many had been working 16-hour shifts – the maximum allowed.)
“I am extremely proud of WSSC’s dedicated team of men and women, especially those crews who worked throughout this winter – in the cold day and night - to return service to our customers as quickly as possible,” said Daniell. “They will continue to fight an uphill battle unless we do something about the problem now.”
Nine-Perecent Rate Increase Effective July 1
WSSC also wishes to remind our customers that rates increase by nine percent effective today, July 1, 2009. The Montgomery and Prince George’s County councils voted in May to approve a $961.7 million Fiscal Year 2010 Operating and Capital Budget that includes the rate increase. The new budget reflects escalating prices for power, chemicals and fuel, as well as the replacement of 31 miles of water mains and 57 miles of sewer mains and laterals (46 miles of mains; 11 miles of laterals). The rate increase adds approximately $4.47 per month or $13.41 per quarter to the average residential customer’s bill.
“The new budget allows us not only to keep up with the rising costs of energy and other operating expenses, but also to increase our inspection of large water mains,” said Daniell. “We look forward to continued development of a long-term solution to meet WSSC’s larger infrastructure needs and to deliver clean, reliable water to our customers.”
Last edited by Howard Hartman; 07-04-2009 at 01:09 PM.
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