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Gray addresses Northwest D.C. flooding problems

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced a trio of short-term measures on Friday aimed at mitigating the impact of severe flooding that has damaged homes in the Bloomingdale and Le Droit Park neighborhoods this summer during bouts of intense rainfall.

A task force formed to address the problem has decided to analyze storm drains in the area and install new ones if needed, install "storm water-retention features" to lessen runoff in heavy rain and help residents install rain barrels around their homes to collect runoff from their roofs.

The measures were outlined after D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Democrat, repeatedly called for immediate action this week to help his constituents. Rainstorms as recent as Sunday and an outdated sewer system have combined to flood homes, cause raw sewage to back flow up drains and toilets and stall motorists who find themselves in deep water along Rhode Island and Florida avenues.

"These are good first steps, obviously," Mr. McDuffie said Friday.

However, the lawmaker said he is still pushing for a relief fund to help residents whose homes flooded and had to throw out damaged property. He said the replacement of a century-old sewer system may not be a quick fix but argued immediate steps should have been taken after the first severe storms in July.

"It should have happened weeks ago," he said. "But it's good to see they are taking action."

Mr. McDuffie called for an "all hands on deck" effort to stem the flooding after the mid-summer storms, prompting Mr. Gray to assemble a task force to study the problem and report its findings by Dec. 31.

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