Last year, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission celebrated its centennial—a milestone that marks the utility’s long experience in water and wastewater and illustrates the daunting challenge it faces to maintain a large inventory of aging infrastructure. WSSC has grown to be the eighth-largest U.S. water and wastewater utility, serving approximately 1.8 million residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Its system covers nearly 1,000 square miles and includes 5,768 miles of fresh-water pipeline and 5,578 miles of sewer pipeline.
Among WSSC’s greatest challenges is the pressing need to repair, replace or rehabilitate aging pipelines. More than one-third of its water mains are more than 50 years old, effectively at or near the end of their expected life spans. In recent years, WSSC has drawn on decades of experience and a desire to pursue forward-looking solutions to aggressively address infrastructure issues. In light of its efforts, ENR MidAtlantic has named the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission its Owner of the Year.