This story was corrected on Feb. 11, 2013. An explanation of the correction follows the story.
A water main near the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in Laurel failed Saturday afternoon while the Maryland State Highway Administration contractors were working around the area, resulting in service disruptions for the Laurel and Beltsville areas.
Both Van Dusen Road and Virginia Manor Road were closed as a result of the 42-inch main break, said WSSC spokesman I.J. Hudson.
WSSC cautioned customers in those areas that they may experience discolored water throughout Sunday and into Monday. Discolored water occurs as the commission opens and closes valves in other areas to maintain service, Hudson said. The water is safe for drinking (although it can taste different), showering, flushing toilets and cleaning, but the WSSC recommends not using discolored water to prepare baby formula or for washing clothes.
Only a few people contacted WSSC with complaints of water outages, although those people could have been experiencing low water pressure, Hudson said.
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department responded to the call around 9 p.m. Saturday, said spokesman Mark E. Brady. After learning that break had caused low pressure in the area, the department moved two of its 2,000-gallon water tankers to the Laurel and Calverton firehouses to ensure those areas have water in the event of a fire. The water in the tankers is “more than adequate” to put out a typical house fire, Brady said.
WSSC workers were still pumping down water Sunday morning to determine the exact location of the main so they could repair it, Hudson said. He said water pressure had improved for the area, but it was not at full pressure.
Brady said the tankers would remain at Laurel and Calverton until the break was completely repaired.
SHA crews confirmed an old "t-joint" constructed in the late 1940s failed along the water main, causing the disruption, SHA spokesman David Buck said in an email to The Gazette on Monday.
The State Highway Administration has been working in the Laurel area to complete the final leg of the Intercounty Connector, which will link Prince George’s Interstate 95 and U.S. corridors with Montgomery County’s I-370.
Correction: The previous version of the story listed an incorrect cause for the water main break.