Shaw Flooding Leaves Residents Worried

by Tim Regan June 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm 1 Comment

(Updated at 3:37 p.m.) Some Shaw residents are worried after Sunday’s heavy rainstorm caused their drains to overflow with sewage for the second time in the past year.

Tony Lenzi, who owns the home at 928 P ST NW, said the downpour left four inches of standing water and sewage in the home’s basement.

“I’ve heard from six other neighbors who have been affected,” says Lenzi. “Two of our neighbors were flooded by sewer and storm water backup for the second time in almost a year.”

Tom Allen, who lives on the same block as Lenzi’s home, told WJLA last night that he’s worried the flooding is becoming more common, partly because of new developments that might be stressing the water infrastructure.

Lenzi agrees: “Our worry in the neighborhood is how both Logan and Shaw will handle the density being added,” he says. “Some of our neighbors have lived here for decades and haven’t seen this kind of flooding.”

D.C. Water spokesperson John Lisle says he’s aware of the flooding on P Street, but is doubtful Sunday’s flooding was caused solely by new population density. Instead, Lisle says the flooding occurred because the area’s sewers were overwhelmed by large amounts of rain.

“The sewers, for really intense rainstorms, don’t have enough capacity,” Lisle explains.

“And they’re undersized,” Lisle adds. “They probably always have been.”

The problem is fixable, says Lisle, just not until 2022 when the city completes its Northeast Boundary Tunnel meant to reduce flooding related to sewer overflows.

For now, Lisle recommends Shaw residents buy insurance and invest in a backflow prevention device.

  • andy

    Hey guys –

    1. First off, we’re very sorry to hear about the flooding in the OP’s home.

    2. Typically, 311 is a good resource but for a water or sewer emergency situation, it’s best to call our 24-hour Command Center directly at 202-612-3400.

    3. We are also responsible for clearing catch basins (storm drains). You can tweet us a location or use our online Report a Problem feature at https://www.dcwater.com/report_problem/default.cfm. We have a team that cleans catch basins all day, everyday.

    4. Regarding the OP’s situation, we are checking the connecting sewer now to ensure that there is not an obstruction or another issue that would have caused a surcharge. If we find a problem that can be remedied, we will correct it immediately.

    5. There are also steps property owners can take to protect their
    homes. We strongly recommend installing a backwater valve which prevents
    wastewater from entering your building during surcharges of the public
    sewer system or back-ups caused by storms.

    6. Lastly, if we cannot locate an obstruction, then the most probably cause is the century old sewers in the neighborhood that are now undersized for the current population. We’re addressing that issue by building the Northeast Boundary Tunnel (which will also alleviate flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park). The tunnel is scheduled for completion in 2022 which is not what people would want to necessarily hear but it is the truth.

    I’ll be sticking around if anyone else has any follow ups. You can also tweet @dcwater. We post fun stuff too so if you follow us, it won’t just be all poop talk.

    -Andy from DC Water


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