WSSC Water begins water quality laboratory expansion

June 29, 2022
The $36.7 million expansion will add over 19,000 square feet of workspace to the existing 27,000 square-foot laboratory, which performs more than 500,000 water quality tests annually.

WSSC Water officials celebrated the start of a $36.7 million project to expand and upgrade WSSC Water’s Laboratory in Silver Spring, Md.

More than 500,000 water quality tests are performed annually at the laboratory, constructed in 2001, including analysis of drinking water, source water, wastewater, stormwater, landfill effluent and biosolids samples. The existing facility was designed with future expansion in mind.

“WSSC Water is relentless about safety and excellence, with zero drinking water quality violations in our 104 years of service,” said Carla Reid, WSSC Water’s general manager and CEO. “This $36.7 million investment will enable us to ensure another century of safe water for our 1.9 million customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.”

During the past 18 years, WSSC Water’s Laboratory Division has experienced an increased analytical workload, number of employees and instruments, and additional functions. With new federal water-quality regulations on the horizon, like the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, the number of water quality analyzes performed each year is expected to increase to more than 750,000 in the next 20 years.

“WSSC Water takes a proactive approach to protecting public health with state-of-the-art laboratory analysis to address contaminants,” said Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Deputy Secretary Suzanne Dorsey. “We are thankful for the strong partnership that MDE and WSSC Water share to protect Maryland's water.”

The expansion will add 19,720 square feet of workspace to the existing 27,193 square-foot facility. Once completed, the new expansion will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified under the U.S. Green Building Council rating system.

“In my seven years as a Commissioner, I’ve witnessed many new projects and seen the progress WSSC Water has made to ensure safe and satisfying water is delivered to the residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties every day,” said Commission Chairman Fausto Bayonet. “This laboratory expansion is a perfect example of looking forward to ensure that the same stellar service continues for centuries to come.”

Construction will start in summer 2022 and be substantially complete in spring 2024.