As cleanup continues around the crater formed by March 18's massive water main break at Connecticut Avenue and Chevy Chase Lake Drive, many questions have arisen about how the water main break—from which 60 million gallons of water were lost, necessitating mandatory water restrictions in two counties—could have happened.
This Monday, April 8, at 9:30 a.m., the Montgomery County Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee will be briefed on what has been learned so far about the break, according to an email statement from Neil Greenberger, spokesperson for the Montgomery County Council.
The Washington Post reported that a Chevy Chase resident noticed "water squirting up from an opening in a circular metal plate embedded in Chevy Chase Lake Drive" about seven hours before the water main break. An inspector found what he thought was a leak in the valve, and determined that it could wait until the morning.
The Acoustic Fiber Optic monitoring system installed by WSSC in 2010 to alert the utility company of impending water breaks did not send out an alert before the March 18 break, The Post reported. The monitoring system has been reinstalled, The Post added.
The Post also reported that the broken pipe was made by Interpace, a defunct company in New Jersey that "the WSSC and other utilities successfully sued for flaws that left the pipes more prone to breaking." Most of WSSC's 350 miles of concrete water mains were made by Interpace, Jim Neustadt, a WSSC spokesman, told The Post.
While the break did result in a massive geyser and crater, no one was hurt. The office building adjacent to the crater (at 8401 Connecticut Ave.) was without water, gas and electricity for most of the day after the break, and the primary vehicular entrance to the building—off of Chevy Chase Lake Drive—has been closed while work on Chevy Chase Lake Drive has continued, Chevy Chase Land Company Spokesperson Miti Figueredo told Patch.