FORT WASHINGTON – The Prince George’s County government continues to work on fixing and investigating a failure at the lower section of Piscataway Drive which caused the evacuation of 28 homes. Lyn Riggins, a spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said the agency came out to fix a main break on Piscataway Drive […]
FORT WASHINGTON – The Prince George’s County government continues to work on fixing and investigating a failure at the lower section of Piscataway Drive which caused the evacuation of 28 homes.
Lyn Riggins, a spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said the agency came out to fix a main break on Piscataway Drive three times before County Executive Rushern Baker III called for an evacuation.
“The history is there was a water main break on Piscataway Drive on Friday and they repaired it. It broke again on Saturday and they repaired it. It broke again Sunday and the county said it was unsafe to work in that area because of the condition of the road and all that,” Riggins said. “So we shut the main down and we came back on Monday and that’s sort of when the county and everyone was out there starting to investigate the issue with the slope.”
According to the county’s Office of Emergency Management, residents occupying properties on Pine Road above Piscataway Drive may return as soon as the homes are determined safe to occupy and the slope has been stabilized. Residents living between 13700 and the end of Piscataway Road may return once water has been restored, the slope has been stabilized and the roadway has been repaired.
The cause of the road collapse has yet to be determined, according to Scott Peterson, press secretary for County Executive Rushern Baker.
“We will not fully know the cause of the slope failure that caused the road to buckle until the geological survey is completed and assessed,” Peterson said.
The county’s geo-technology consultant, KCI Technologies, is still in the process of testing the soil in order to determine the cause of the slope failure and to create a short term and long term solution, Peterson said. Throughout the week the geologists have continued to notice minor movements of the slope.
Until KCI’s assessment is complete, Peterson said, the county will not know how long residents will be displaced.
To assist residents, the Office of Emergency management has positioned a mobile command unit at the corner of Coldwater Court and Coldwater Drive serve as a resource for residents.
On Friday the Office of Emergency Management sent a letter to residents saying Pepco will provide power to the 22 homes determined to be “unfit” at the lower end of Piscataway Drive every evening from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The power will be turned off during the day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to ensure the safety of the personnel working in the impacted area. Power will not be restored to the six properties deemed “unsafe”.
Meanwhile, WSSC continues to assess the status of both the water and sewer main so the lower portion of Piscataway Drive, as well as the connections between the WSSC mains and the houses.
Once the investigation is complete, WSSC will determine the necessary repairs. In the short term, repairs have been made to a broken section of water main in the area of 13725 Piscataway Drive. WSSC discovered another break on Thursday in the area of 13721 Piscataway Drive and is continuing to work on repairs. WSSC crews remained on site and continued working throughout the weekend.
“We’re doing an extensive assessment of the water and sewer main on the lower portion of Piscataway Drive as well as the connection between the WSSC main and the homes, that’s what’s going on right now,” said Riggins.
The time frame for fixing the water main break is undetermined, Riggins said. Damage estimates will not be determined until the work is completed.
Residents from the homes on Piscataway Drive are being handled on case-by-case basis by the Department of Social Services and Department of Family Services.