- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
McDuffie adamant about emergency funds as Bloomingdale floods
Question of the Day
A D.C. lawmaker is calling on the city to establish an emergency relief fund for residents of the Bloomingdale neighborhood reeling from flood damage after fierce rains backed up their outdated sewer once again during the Labor Day weekend.
Council member Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Democrat, said water rushed under doors and stranded motorists on Rhode Island Avenue Northwest while raw sewage bubbled up through toilets and drains in homes, a nightmarish and all-too-frequent occurrence for his constituents this summer.
"No one should have to live like that," he said.
Standing water along Rhode Island Avenue reached the tops of cars' wheels on Sunday evening and Metro had to suspend service on its Green and Yellow lines between Georgia Avenue-Petworth and Mount Vernon Square stations because of flooding near the Shaw-Howard University station. At about 9 p.m., the Metropolitan Police Department assisted with temporary road closures and helped stranded motorists along Rhode Island Avenue and North Capitol Street, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said.
Mr. McDuffie said he is calling on all relevant agencies, particularly the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, to bring forward all of their resources and set aside funding for immediate relief to residents in the affected areas. He also said the city should request financial assistance from the federal government, even though it is not a citywide problem.
"You've got residents who have legitimate flood-damage claims," he said. "They don't need [help] next week, next month — they need it now."
Bloomingdale is an increasingly popular neighborhood south of McMillan Reservoir and north of Florida Avenue. It abuts North Capitol Street on its eastern edge and is bisected by Rhode Island Avenue, a main corridor that was plagued by rushing water and stranded vehicles during bouts of rainfall in late July.
Mr. McDuffie called for an "all-hands-on-deck" effort to stem the flooding after the July storms, prompting Mayor Vincent C. Gray to assemble a task force to study the problem and report its findings by Dec. 31.
But now the lawmaker is ramping up his rhetoric.
On Monday he called for a new study by independent engineers to see what the city and residents can do in the short term before they are hit by flooding once more. Some residents spent thousands of dollars to install back-flow preventers in their homes — plumbing devices that keep sewage from backing up during storms — only to experience flooding again Sunday night, he said.
WASA's General Manager George Hawkins said flooding can occur in numerous ways. His own agency is set to release its findings on the neighborhood's engineering challenges in the coming week, although he is fine with an independent review.
He said crews cleaned storm water drains on Friday in anticipation of the remnants from Hurricane Isaac coming over the weekend. But once again, the area was hit by "an enormous amount of rain in a small amount of time."
"This is absolutely a terrible outcome, and we're doing everything we can to try and solve [the problem]," he said.
The sewer system that serves the neighborhood was installed in the late 19th century as a combined sewer, in which wastewater from homes and stormwater flows into the same pipe, according to WASA. Mr. Hawkins said Monday the pipe along Florida Avenue is 9 feet in diameter and "just not big enough to hold this kind of flow."
The system should be remedied as part of the Clean Rivers Project, "a system of tunnels, sewers and other diversion structures to control and capture overflow throughout the city," according to WASA. But the multistage project will not be completed until 2025.
"You've got a legitimate project in the works," Mr. McDuffie said. "But residents can't wait 13 years."
Mr. Gray's spokesman, Pedro Ribeiro, said Monday tha the would have to confer with the mayor, who is in Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention, before commenting on a possible relief fund for Bloomingdale residents.
Mr. McDuffie took office in May after a special election to replace former council member Harry Thomas Jr., who resigned in January and pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in public funds intended for youth sports programs.
The new lawmaker has been vocal about flooding in Bloomingdale and decried the mayor's plans to build a car barn for the District's new streetcar system in his ward near Spingarn High School. Mr. McDuffie noted the city is ready to shell out millions for the barn, but the flooding issue is "well-documented" and leaves people in fear of leaving their homes.
"It's occurring too frequently," he said. "People are on pins and needles."
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls for review of Obamacare rollout woes
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
- Harry Reid, David Vitter spar over Obamacare 'exemptions'
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House faces press revolt over access to Obama's South Africa flight
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- GOP Rep. Tim Murphy rolls out mental health legislation
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Selfie at heart of Obama fiasco to stay secret
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow