Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission General Manager Robert S. McGarry promised the Prince George's County Council a complete report by Monday detailing how the electrical fire at the Potomac pumping station caused massive water shortages last week.
In a briefing requested by Council members, McGarry said the WSSC was developing new contingency plans for future emergencies.
McGarry said it will take two weeks before the station returns to full capacity. The station, now operating at 130 million gallons per day, has a potential fo 180 million gallons per day.
Council member Frank P. Casula criticized the WSSC for the conflicting statements issued during the water emergency. "The two county executives wound up saying different things," said Casula, "and those statements kept getting us into trouble."
Casula said he was awakened one morning at 6 o'clock by one concerned citizen and said many of the businessmen he talked to were confused by the lack of coordination.
"We need a coordinated input into a plan so if something else happens, boom, it goes into effect immediately," said Casula.
Council member Francis B. Francois added, "A lot of fine tuning needs to be done before another one (shortage) occurs."
McGarry said more than 1.2 million people called the switchboard during the crisis, causing all outgoing and incoming calls to jam up. He said the WSSC had already installed separate lines for use in emergency situations.
McGarry praised Prince George's citizens for conservation efforts during the crisis, saying "most people cut themselves down to a shower and a toilet flust per day."
The WSSC also discussed with the Council a proposition to refund certain issues of WSSC bonds with new bonds at lower interest rates.
The process, called refinancing, would save $41 million in interest payments. This savings, according to Vera Berkman, WSSC chairman, would be passed on to taxpayers through lower rates in future years.
The savings, however, would probably not show up in any great amount until the year 2000.
The WSSC plans to sell $235 million in advance refunding bonds at an estimated rate of 5 1/2 per cent to pay off $221 million in bonds currently outstanding for which the WSSC paid an average of 8 per cent. This difference in interest rates, said Council Deputy Administrator Gene Lauer, would produce the savings.