MARYLAND

Residents relieved after water disaster is avoided

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With assistance from Harford County Water utility workers – who drove 50 miles to help – Diane Holmes decided to still stock up even when told the worst of the water crisis had been averted.

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“I was worried about my AC cutting off because where I live they said we might not have AC because it runs on water," she said.

Beyond her own needs, Donna Walker was also worried, but happy to hear the water would not be turned off for days:

"Thank God, thank God -- because its too hot and I'm worried about all the older people who have sickness and really need to get water. So God is good."

For those able to get water in the affected areas on Wednesday, there was relief. With four active children of his own and nieces and nephews, Justin Jones wasn’t taking any chances.

“That's a good thing they don't have to turn off the water because that was kind of stressful," he said.

With a picture of his three kids before they were teenagers, Kevin Wallace said it’s simple why he's worried about running out: “ I filled up to get ready but every little bit helps - because I have girls!”

The water outage was surprisingly averted when WSSC workers like Brad Destlehorst spent most of the day on Wednesday underground -- battling a broken valve with co-worker Tom Ecker.

“We just weren’t going to give up,” said Brad.

According to Tom, they were both 20 feet down in about three feet of water, doing the grunt work along with others, building the parts to work with in order to fix the busted valve by digging out the rust.

The results kept the water flowing as workers were able to re-route water around the damaged section of pipe – a 54-inch main that carries 15 million gallons of water daily.

But despite the relief among many residents, some county leaders and businesses who turned customers away believing they would lose water completely aren't feeling so great. Instead, they are upset WSSC didn't let them know in advance that there was a possibility they could avoid shutting off the water by fixing the valve.

Yet, it's a move WSSC officials said they would do again. They did not know the possibilities at the time, and if presented with the worst case scenario, they would issue warnings and then manufacture a better solution -- just as they did this time around.

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