If you feel like you were constantly encountering detours and delays caused by broken water mains last month, you weren’t imagining things.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said it encountered a record number of water main breaks and leaks in January, thanks to the long stretch of sub-freezing temperatures.
WSSC, which serves Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, said there were 819 breaks or leaks in January, the most ever for a single month in the commission’s history. The previous monthly record was 647, in December of 2010.
Typically, WSSC sees the majority of water main breaks and leaks between November and February, and said it reports about 1,200 during that time period each year. The commission said that it already has seen 1,653 over the last three months.
There appears to be a direct correlation between the temperature of the Potomac River, which serves WSSC, and water main breaks. This chart shows that as water temperature declines, water main breaks increase; there was a clear spike in breaks during the first two weeks of January, when the water temperature of the Potomac fell to barely over 35 degrees.
Did the rise in water main breaks impact your commute in January?