Water main break closes street, college and businesses in Silver Spring
A 16-inch water main that burst in Silver Spring early Thursday morning left neighbors and nearby businesses without water and closed down Piney Branch Road between Sligo Creek Parkway and Dale Drive.
The Takoma Park⁄Silver Spring campus of Montgomery College also closed Thursday as crews with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission worked to repair the pipe, which was further damaged when a portion of the sidewalk above collapsed.
Don Parrett, a union coordinator with the WSSC, said crews were called about 6 a.m. Thursday and worked through the morning to remove pieces of concrete and trees that had fallen when the sidewalk collapsed. The water main most likely broke due to the aging infrastructure in the area, Parrett said.
Parrett said crews hoped to restore water to the neighborhood by 4 p.m. Thursday.
‘‘It's a pretty simple fix,” he said.
When members of the Kakpovi family at 8303 Piney Branch Road woke up Thursday around 6 a.m. and went to the bathroom to take showers and brush their teeth, water wouldn't come from the taps.
‘‘I heard screaming, 'Mom, someone turned off the water,'” said Julieen Kakpovi.
Jean Kakpovi, Julieen's husband, wondered, ‘‘Didn't I pay my water bill?” he said, chuckling.
Then, he opened his front door and looked across the street to see a gusher of water shooting into the air and flooding the street.
‘‘All the road was covered,” Jean said.
‘‘When we saw it, we were scared,” Julieen said.
‘‘So I told my son to pick up the phone and call 9-1-1,” Jean said.
Crews from WSSC were on the scene, between Dale Drive and Sligo Creek Parkway, in about 30 minutes, they said.
Sylvester Kakpovi and Chris Edon, who live on Thayer Avenue, said water service was interrupted in their neighborhood, too.
People they knew reported losing water pressure when they were showering and still covered with soap, they said.
‘‘I couldn't brush my teeth,” said Sylvester, who, along with Edon, were visiting Jean and Julieen Thursday, a few hours after the water main break.
Regardless of the service interruption, all said they were taking the incident in stride.
‘‘No complaints. We'll go out and get some bottled water,” Jean said, noting that it might be difficult to do given the number of backhoes and dump trucks in front of their house along the closed section of Piney Branch.
‘‘I never saw the water like that,” Julieen said. ‘‘It was like a flood.”
Eyersalem Teessem, who works at the Texaco gas station at 8225 Piney Branch Road, recalled seeing a similar sight after 6 a.m. Thursday.
‘‘It looked like too much water,” she said, making hand gestures that indicated a gusher.
She said the station, located at the intersection of Dale Drive, lost water pressure in its bathroom and didn't have water to make coffee.
Karen O'Brien, who lives nearby, said she came to survey the damage about 10 a.m. Thursday when the neighborhood listserv filled with chatter about low water pressure throughout the area.
‘‘People were trying to figure out what was going on,” she said.
A sign outside La Casita, an eatery and grocery store up Piney Branch Road, read, ‘‘Due to a water main break we will be closed until further notice.” Jaime Arbaiza, the store's manager, said he was forced to close as soon as he came in around 7 a.m. Thursday and saw that there was no clean water coming out of the faucets.
‘‘We use water for just about everything,” he said. ‘‘We've basically been closed all morning.”
Elizabeth Homan, a spokeswoman for Montgomery College, said she hoped the college's Takoma Park⁄Silver Spring campus would reopen Friday.
‘‘We take one day at a time,” she said.