City Desk

Could Officials Have Prevented The River Road Water Main Break?

Earlier this morning, we wrote up the massive water main break on River Road that left roughly a dozen people in need of rescue. The Post has updated its story with two big points of news.

1. The problems on River Road appear to be on-going problems. There's still water. Maybe lots of it. And Officials still are only guessing at what caused the break. It was probably the extreme cold:

"River Road was closed to traffic between Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard. Water was still covering the street as of 10:45 a.m., with some of it flowing off the road and one point and into a nearby creek, It was not immediately clear how the massive quantity of water would affect that woods and structures on either side of the roadway.

There was no immediate information on why the large pipe might have ruptured, but age and extreme weather are often factors in such breaks."

2. The water main break could have been avoided. Officials, the Post reports, had warned for years that many of the pipes were more than decades old and had been worn away by "acidic soil" and "ground water." The Post writes:

"In 2007, the system reported a record 2,129 pipe breaks, which generally result in cut-offs in service and road flooding.

The sanitary commission on average replaces about 25 miles of pipe a year. But last February, the representatives from Montgomery and Prince George's County who make up the sanitary commission opted not to assess an additional fee of $20 per month that had been proposed to fund a more widespread pipe replacement."

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