The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Washington, D.C.:
Rusted Infrastructure

Jul 19, 2010

On July 1st an eight-foot water main was shut off for repairs – it was massively corroded. This meant that 1.8 million WSSC (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties had to restrict water usage.

But that’s not all. No sooner were the restrictions lifted for WSSC customers than a two-foot water main in Rockville busted, sending water up 60 to 70 feet like a geyser. This water main serves as the only water main connecting Rockville’s city water treatment plant and the distribution system.

There’s still more. Monday, a block away from the geyser-like break in the Rockville main, there was yet another break.

Why are all these water mains breaking now, in the summer? Old age. The average age of WSSC’s pipes is 52 years. For Washington, D.C., the average age is 78 years. And the cherry on top is that the day the eight-foot pipe was shut off, WSSC increased the rate to its customers by 8.5%, supposedly to upgrade the system which is old and over-capacity.

Instead of raising our rates – stop bailing out the banks and bail out our falling-apart infrastructure.