By Kathleen Stubbs @kathleenstubbs3
SILVER SPRING — A water main break near the intersection of Connecticut and Georgia Avenues in Aspen Hill left more than 300 customers without water Sunday night and Monday and led to a school closing Monday.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission received a call about the break of a 10-inch water main at about 2 p.m. Sunday, spokesperson Luis Maya said. Crews arrived at the site and dug a hole near the break. The crews continued to work on replacing the water main section as of 12 p.m. Monday.
Utility trucks owned by WSSC and its contractors blocked two lanes of Connecticut Avenue heading in one direction, just before the intersection with Georgia Avenue.
Crews had to work around some wires and a gas line to access the broken pipe.
“They have to go under it. We can’t move it – it’s not our infrastructure,” said Maya about the wire.
Maya said the crews having to work around non-WSSC infrastructure right near the water main made the repair take longer than if the utilities had not been in the way.
WSSC set up a water station at Harmony Hills Elementary School Sunday, and many customers went there to pick up jugs of water, Maya said. Customers could pick up jugs of water on Monday as well.
“It just took longer because it’s a slow process in this situation,” Maya said.
Harmony Hills Elementary School initially required a two-hour delay, but then the school closed for the entire day because crews hadn’t finished repairing the water main; restrooms and food services needed water before the school could open for the school day, Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said.
“Kids need to use the bathroom, we need to be able to run meal services; there are a number of things we use water for,” said Onijala.
Once crews repair the break, they will fill the hole with gravel, and contractors will cover the gravel with pavement, Maya said. Then, the two blocked lanes on Connecticut Avenue will reopen for traffic.
Maya said the number of water main breaks in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties tends to increase during cold weather.