Once again there is a problem with the water pressure on my block, Hermleigh Rd. As to the source — there could be several (update: turns out that WSSC has identified this as a major break in the “Montgomery High Zone”. It’s so bad that they’ve issued a “Boil Water Advisory” and have instituted mandatory water restrictions for the county). There could be another break on Stonington Place (I feel even more sympathetic for them since a water break on their street seems almost like a seasonal occurance) or it could be due to the sink hole that is developing in the street in front my neighbor’s house directly across the street from me!

See, WSSC didn’t get their $20/month fee they wanted to tack onto Montgomery County and Prince George’s County residents’ water bill for the next 10 years. They did, however, get a 10% rate hike. However, it seems that WSSC maintains it’s infrastructure much like PEPCO does — through fire drills. Who would think that we live right next to the nation’s capital with a crumbling infrastructure like this. Now, I’m all for doing the right thing and beginning a replacement of the water mains, but this was something that WSSC should have anticipated over the years — rather than just doing “deferred” maintenance and then expecting to shift the costs to the end consumer as though we were their piggy bank.

I’d be curious to compare our water rates versus other places in the country. I suspect that our water rates are among the highest in the nation even though the service we get is pathetic.

When I used to live in a condominium we had to set aside money every year into a capital account to anticipate upcoming large maintenance projects. We even considered the amount to commit to that account based on estimates of inflation and other costs. Most years we were able to pay for the capital projects that were slated — roof replacement, parking lot reseal, etc. What I fail to understand is how WSSC could have failed so miserably at maintaining their infrastructure so that they needed to go to the Montgomery County Council and ask for a $20 per month infrastructure fee per WSSC customer for the next 10 years. Of course, had the council given them the approval of that fee, what do you think the chances are that they would have rescinded it after the 10 year infrastructure replacement program was complete? Just like Virginia promised to rescind the tolls on the VA-267 once it had paid for itself…right? If you believe they would have rescinded it…I have some land in Libya I’d like to sell you.

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