WSSC battles “unusual” number of water main breaks

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WSSC LogoWashington Suburban Sanitary Commission members on Wednesday approved $12 million in funding to deal with the “unusual” number and pace of water mains breaks in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties this winter, which have put both jurisdictions on course to see a record number this winter.

“It is absolutely an unusual a high number of breaks,” said Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission spokesman Jerry Irvine. At least 1000 water mains across both counties have ruptured since Dec. 1, at great inconvenience not only to WSSC customers but to the repair crews who have had to remain on call for 24 hours.

The pace at which mains are breaking puts the area on course for a total much higher than the usual average of 1,200 breaks between December and March. WSSC saw an average of 100 breaks a day at the peak of the cold snap that gripped the area from late December through early January. But according to Irvine, as temperatures have warmed slightly the number of breaks per day is back down to the “more reasonable” 35 per day, because the number of breaks tends to level off when temperature remains constant and there are not rapid changes in temperature.

“Once the system has been shocked by the original blast of cold water we're kind of steady state,” he said.


Breaking Ground!

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After delays local leaders celebrate Purple Line construction

JGS 9049Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the Purple Line groundbreaking. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  HYATTSVILLE – After 30 years of planning, workers finally broke ground on the Purple Line, the soon-to-be light rail line that will connect Metro stops in Montgomery County to Prince George’s County.

After the ceremony, workers began construction on the 16.2-mile $2 billion light rail line that will connect Bethesda Metro to New Carrolton Metro Station with 21 stops including at Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park and College Park.

Gov. Larry Hogan, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4), Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were on hand for the signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Purple Line.

Chao lauded the project saying the Purple Line is one of the largest public-private projects in the country. In April 2016, Hogan signed the $5.6 billion P3 contract to begin the long process of building the new rail system.


P.G. photographer claims police took camera and erased photos

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A local news photographer said his camera was taken from him by a Prince Georges County police officer, who then deleted some photos at an accident scene this weekend.

“The Sentinel newspapers have a rich tradition of community involvement and we hope the Prince Georges Police Department will respect our role in our community,” said Sentinel newspaper publisher Lynn Kapiloff.

“I go to homicide scenes, fatal accidents,” said Jim Davis, a photographer for the Prince George’s Sentinel. “No one has come up to me asking to see my pictures.”

Davis said he was reviewing pictures he had just taken at the scene of a five-vehicle crash Sunday, which police said was a double-fatal collision, on Edmonston Road just north of Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt when a U.S. Park police officer approached him and asked to see his pictures. The officer said Davis needed to wait there until detectives arrived. When Davis asked why, the officer said he needed to see if he took pictures of license plates numbers. Davis said he was a reporter and showed the officer his press pass, which seemed to satisfy the officer.

A second officer, this one from Prince George’s County, approached Davis as he was walking back to his car and asked to see his pictures. When Davis asked why, the officer repeated that he needed to look at the pictures. Davis never received a reason, after repeating his question a few times.


Street in Prince George's to be named for Sentinel

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HYATTSVILLE – Prince George’s County’s most successful transit-oriented development area is looking to become even more successful with the addition of new housing options.

Meanwhile, one of the streets is due to be named after The Sentinel Newspapers.

On Monday morning, The Kiplinger Washington Editors joined representatives from Ryan Homes, Prince George’s County and the city of Hyattsville for a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new, residential redevelopment of Kiplinger’s 11-acre site at Toledo Terrace and East West Highway.

“This is an exciting project,” said Knight Kiplinger, editor-in-chief and president of Kiplinger Washington Editors. “It’s a big process to make this happen. I was standing at the edges watching this marvel and all the good work that folks were doing.”


Water quality may have adverse effect on your pets

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SEABROOK – County residents may want to think twice before giving Fido a bowl of water or filling Swimmy’s tank in Prince George’s County.

Over the past few months The Sentinel Newspapers has conducted a series of water tests throughout the county. The tests samples were pulled from city water, provided through the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), while local rivers and lakes and were analyzed by National Testing Laboratories Ltd. in Ypsilanti, Mich.

While the water sampling did not yield any serious red flags in water quality, as most contaminates fell below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, The Sentinel found numerous traces of metals, moderate to high levels of chlorine and variances in water hardness.


Pepco pledges $25 million each to Montgomery, PG after merger

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Pepco Logo

Pepco officials are paying approximately $25 million each to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to help fund energy efficiency and green energy programs.

The Thursday announcement came two months after company executives said they are requesting approval for a 10 percent utility rate increase in order to update infrastructure, which would cost the average utility rate pay an extra $15 per month.

Pepco spokesperson Vince Morris said the rate increase would have come regardless of the merger.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett concurred, saying that even without the merger, Pepco would still have to raise rates to deal with their gaping infrastructure issues.


Rally supports families of recent shooting

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Six area rotary clubs joined together to contribute a total of $6,000 to families of the victims of a shooting spree earlier this month that began in Prince Georges County and ended in the Aspen Hill area of Montgomery County.

Six families are to receive $1,000 each. Half the money will go to the three families whose  loved ones were killed in the May 5 and 6 shooting. They include Malcom "Mike" Winffel of Boyds, Claudina Molina of Silver Spring and the suspect's estranged wife, Gladys Tordil. 


WSSC steps up on water pipes

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With an average of 1,839 water main breaks per fiscal year, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is taking steps to improve its infrastructure 1 mile of pipe at a time.


Officials, activists weigh police, criminal justice reforms

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scales of justiceSILVER SPRING – Local politicians and activists brainstormed solutions to mass incarceration, police misconduct and racial inequality in Maryland at a town hall panel July 2 organized by political organization Progressive Neighbors.

The forum focused on how the state of Maryland is addressing these issues as well as gun violence in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death and the riots that followed in Baltimore.

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