Feb 2, 2015
A man and his wife are forced awake by a loud noise and water rushing into their basement apartment. As the water rises to Darwin Mendoza’s shins, he frantically grabs his three young children and runs to his car. As they back out of their driveway to escape danger, the car begins tilting and sinking. The family manages to get out just as their car sinks underwater.
A scene from the next made for TV movie? No. This was the scene last week in a Washington, D.C. suburb. This dramatic and harrowing story was not due to natural causes or a “freak” accident. The water main that broke was 90 years old. “The pipe broke along the length of the pipe, blew out debris, asphalt, road,” according to a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) spokesman. The water had nowhere to go except peoples’ basements.
“We are fixing 55 miles of water main per year. We have 5,500 miles of pipe in the ground, so it is a 100-year replacement cycle,” reported the spokesman for WSSC. Clearly, 55 miles per year is not nearly enough! They can’t hire more people?
A county council member representing the neighborhood responded to the disaster by saying that it was “unfortunate” that the infrastructure is old.
This is not an “unfortunate” situation! This is a deliberate choice made by politicians like this county council member: Give taxpayer money to the wealthy in the form of tax breaks and subsidies for businesses and corporations, rather than use it to replace aging infrastructure. The choice they made puts us ALL at risk.