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City Urges Water Conservation

The Department of Public Works discovered a major water main with the potential for a catastrophic failure.

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works is urging residents to conserve water as it prepares to repair a major water main.

Electronic tests revealed that the 54-inch Southwest Transmission Main—located near Whistler and Wilmarco avenues—has the potential for a catastrophic failure. The water main runs from the Ashburton Water Filtration Plant to Howard and Anne Arundel counties, according to a news release.

Before taking the water main off line, the department will conduct a 48-hour test starting tomorrow to make certain it can provide adequate water while the main is down. Once it's established that water can be provided, the department will begin excavation and the replacement of three 16 feet sections of the main.

"We must be as proactive as possible to avoid catastrophic incidents such as occurred in Dundalk and Halethorpe in 2009. It is our duty to use the best technologies to reveal possible water main weaknesses and to stop them before they can harm people and property. This is an investment in public safety," Public Works Director Alfred Foxx said in the news release.

After the tests, the department will inspect the main to get a full understanding of the problems, and construction could be complete in as little as two weeks—barring any unforeseen circumstances, said Kurt Kocher, a DPW spokesman.

The issues associated with repairing the water main have been complicated because the Northwest water main is currently offline as it is being refurbished. Because of this, the department is asking all residents to conserve water so that it can continue to provide adequate service to all customers.

"[Water conservation] doesn’t mean you can’t do things, it just means do things at an appropriate time," Kocher said.  

DPW Suggested Conservation Measures:

  • Please refrain from outside watering, car washing, power-washing or pool-topping until after sunset or during the early morning hours.
  • Please do not wash clothes or dishes, or do non-essential cleaning using water until late in the evening or very early in the morning. 
  • Use clothes washers and dishwashers only with full loads.
  • Short showers use less water than filling the tub for bathing.
  • Report open hydrants.
  • Use water wisely.

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Daniel Ewald July 09, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Flimsy infrastructure is expected since the pipes are over a century old.
Adam Bednar July 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Actually, this pipe was installed in the 60s or 70s. For whatever reason these stressed concrete pipes have flaws in the wire that holds them together.

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