Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Officials give heads-up on Chevy Chase water projects

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Chevy Chase homeowners should call their plumbers to make sure their pipes work appropriately with an improved water main system, according to an official who fielded questions from Town of Chevy Chase residents last week.

The county and regional agencies responsible for sewer and water systems are revamping the pipes that carry potable water to Chevy Chase homes, and rainwater away from them. Agency officials answered questions Aug. 15 about the projects at a sparsely attended Town Hall forum.

The projects follow years of complaints from town residents who said crumbling pipes and insufficient drainage caused thousands of dollars in property damage. Burst water mains plagued Bethesda and parts of Chevy Chase earlier this year. Thousands lost water service and homes were evacuated as a result of the broken pipes.

The water main replacements began last week and will span an estimated 16 months, ending in December of 2008.

The new water mains will improve water pressure, which could ‘‘put stress on old, clogged or corroded pipes,” especially if pipes have weakened joints, said Clayton Stewart of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

The stormwater project, which begins later this month, will take four to five months. The projects affect the Town of Chevy Chase and Section 3 of the Village of Chevy Chase.

Michael F. Mitchell, who manages county stormwater drainage projects, said the county deemed the ‘‘bowl” at Stanford Street and East Avenue, and the ‘‘sump,” or lowest spot, of Thornapple Street, as needing immediate work. Those areas should see appreciably better drainage after the basins and conduits are fixed, Mitchell said.

During the storm drain and pipe work, residents can expect temporary no-parking areas on one side of the street, temporary road closures, and water service shutdowns lasting up to eight hours, according to Stewart and Mitchell.