Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teri Janine Quinn: flooding updates and info (#2)

From: terijanine < terijanine@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 7:33 AM
Subject: Flooding Updates and Information (#2)

1. Surveys

As of yesterday evening 148 people have completed our internal survey - 132 Bloomingdale residents and 16 LeDroit Park residents. I have attached a spreadsheet [not supplied here] that indicates how many households on each block have submitted surveys. The blocks highlighted in yellow indicate a submission that did not include a complete block address (i.e., the entry may have been "Thomas Street, NW" rather than "100 block of Thomas Street, NW"). Please take a look at the spreadsheet and let me know if you believe more homes were affected on your block than are indicated on the spreadsheet.
2. Preparation for Saturday, August 4th Public Meeting with DC Water
I will be meeting with Councilmember McDuffie and DC Water (separately) early this week to convey the concerns and requests I have heard from neighbors. The goals of the meetings are to ensure that Councilmember McDuffie understands exactly what we want him to pursue from DC Water and what we expect from him outside of advocating our position in his discussions with DC Water and to give DC Water the opportunity to be in a position to provide acceptable responses to our concerns during August 4th meeting.
3. Communications with DC Water 
DC Water has indicated that part of its action plan includes a commitment to respond to communications from residents. Please help us assess whether DC Water is responding to communications from residents by sending your responses to the following questions to  bloomingdame@gmail.com (sending your responses directly to Betsy will help avoid a barrage of emails to the forum):

1. Have you called or emailed using the info on DC Water's website? If so, did you get a reply?
2. Did you receive a packet at your door (and what is your address or block?

Betsy will compile your responses and summarize them. 
Here is the update I circulated last week via email.
Here are a few updates that I hope you find useful:
1. Next Public Meeting with DC Water
The Bloomingdale Civic Association will host a public meeting with DC Water to address flooding problems in Bloomingdale. The meeting will be held on Saturday, August 4th from 2-5pm at St. George's Episcopal Church, 160 U Street, NW (at the corner of 2nd and U Streets, NW). Please help us spread the word.
2. Update on Survey
Our internal survey is still open. To date, 129 neighbors have completed the survey. That total includes 113 submissions from Bloomingdale and 16 from LeDroit Park. We need help sharing the survey with neighbors who are not on Scott's listserv or who do not have Internet access. If you are willing to help please let me know which block(s) you can cover ASAP. Also, let me know if you have already told everyone on your block about the survey. Here's the link to the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M8V8G66 . I have also attached a copy of the survey in case you need to leave it with a neighbor and go back to pick it up and enter their answers online for them.
3. Similar Issue in DuPont Circle?
The Prince of Petworth blog ran a story on our flooding problem http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2012/07/dealing-with-flooding-in-bloomingdale/ and I found this in the comments:
"There was a similar problem 10 years ago over in East Dupont (Corcoran, New Hampshire, R, Riggs). WASA eventually redid the whole drainage system in the area and as far as I know it has been alleviated. Have DCWater look into the cause/remedy of that problem and it probably is the same or at least very similar to what is happening in Bloomingdale."
Does anyone in this group know someone who may have more information about how DC Water (WASA at the time) was persuaded to make repairs in that situation? We should look into that and consider whether it makes sense for us to replicate actions taken by those DuPont residents.
4. From DC Water
Most of you have probably seen the website http://www.dcwater.com/bloomingdale , Bloomingdale Action Agenda http://www.dcwater.com/workzones/bloomingdale/BloomingdaleActionAgenda.pdf and the survey https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHFFWXBXR0tFODVFYjJCSG9CeEZuWVE6MQ DC Water created to address flooding in our area.
I would like to offer some unsolicited legal advice regarding DC Water's survey which is titled "Flooding Survey for Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park Customers". This is not the same survey that led to most of you being included in this Google Group. I am very concerned about the last question on DC Water's survey: "Were you aware of historic flooding problems in your neighborhood before you moved in?" After the last Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting, I (and other neighbors) were left with the impression that DC Water may be willing to go to great lengths to avoid liability related to flooding in our area. An affirmative answer to this question could be used to bolster a defense by DC Water that it is not liable for flood damage (or that its liability is reduced) because a customer assumed the risk of moving into a neighborhood where the customer had prior knowledge that the area was prone to flooding issues. There is also a question earlier in the survey about whether the customer has installed a backflow preventer. Generally, I believe the backflow preventer question may provide information to DC Water that may be helpful in identified and correcting the ultimate problem. However, I am concerned that the answers to these two questions could be combined in an effort by DC Water to deny compensation for flood damage. Just as DC Water is within its rights to protect itself from liability we as customers we are entitled to act manner that will not compromise the validity of claims we believe we may have against DC Water. As such, if I were completing DC Water's survey I would not answer the last question. *Disclaimer: My legal experience is focused primarily in energy law. I am not an expert in civil litigation.*
5. Locating Building Plans
I heard from a neighbor who had someone come out to investigate the option of installing a backflow preventer in their condo building. The condo association was told that prior to installation they would need to get a copy of the building plans. If you need to locate the building or floor plans for your residence you should contact DCRA's Plans and Files department. The telephone number is 202-442-4547.
6. Sample Letter
Please find below an example of a letter neighbors can submit to our elected officials to convey the impact that the flooding issue must be addressed urgently. The letter below was sent to the Mayor and Councilmember McDuffie by a concerned neighbor who has not experienced flooding. Keep in mind, phone calls are effective as well.
Mr. Mayor and Councilman McDuffie,
I am a resident of Bloomingdale and writing to urge you to act immediately to address the extremely serious flooding issues plaguing the Bloomingdale neighborhood. These issues have been known for a long time, and there is simply no good excuse for the city to be acting so slowly to resolve them. Not only does the flooding repeatedly damage the property of many individual homeowners and businesses, it threatens a rise in insurance fees, the reduction of the number of businesses willing to locate here and the decline in the neighborhood's overall desirability and revitalization.
I look forward to hearing from you a detailed plan that takes concrete and effective steps to end the flooding within the next several months at most.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Teri Janine Quinn
Bloomingdale Civic Association

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