Leonardtown, MD — A water main break on Saturday afternoon caused the loss of water service to the Singletree subdivision in Leonardtown. Workers were on the scene until early Sunday morning restoring service, flushing lines and conducting tests.
The town had planned to interrupt service to two buildings on Moakley Street as contractors installed a line under the street to connect to the new Clark’s Rest subdivision. That was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. But in so doing the contractors apparently broke the main line into the several hundred home subdivision.
The town has come under criticism from residents because of the slowness in reporting the problem to them. Several residents expressed their concern about the lag time at the regular town meeting on Monday, September 8.
The communication situation was exacerbated by the fact that Mayor Dan Burris was out of town and Town Manager Laschelle McKay was away from her computer.
Town Councilman Jay Mattingly, who works at the county’s Emergency Operations Center, was able to institute a Code Red robocall to the residents of the subdivision at about 7:30 p.m. notifying them of the problem. There also was a brief notice posted on the town’s Facebook page.
Town Councilwoman Leslie Roberts went to the neighborhood and was able to notify residents who checked at the scene of the break. Roberts said at the town council meeting on Monday that ironically several days before the break, the issue of notification was discussed at a Southern Maryland Municipal League meeting. Roberts said the town was aware that there was need to improve the communication system when residents needed to be informed of an emergency, but she said, “Unfortunately an emergency happened before we could fix it.”
Councilman Thomas Combs said that even though the water lines in Singletree were installed in the 1980’s, the construction technology is now outdated. He said the town is working to improve the town’s infrastructure. Burris noted that state funding for such projects has been cut drastically and the towns are working to restore it.
Burris also said that the water main to Clark’s Rest will create a loop system within the town and thus redundancy which could help prevent future interruption of service.
Several residents at the meeting expressed concerns about the safety of their water supply since the incident. Burris assured the residents that if they followed instructions and ran their water until it was clear of silt then everything should be okay. But he said the town would conduct additional random testing to make sure that the water is safe to use.
McKay informed the council that the crew fixing the problem finally wrapped up their work at 12:30 on Sunday morning when water service was fully restored to Singletree.
Anyone with questions about the water main break is encouraged to call the town office at 301-475-9791.