Friday, November 30, 2012

back and forth between Bloomingdale resident Brice McCracken and DC Water's Alan Heymann

This subsequent response from Bloomingdale resident Brice McCracken just in:

Mr. Heymann-

Thanks for the information you provided.  It`s still very concerning to me that almost five months after the first flood and sewer back up events of 2012, DC Water seems to be clueless and dumbfounded as to the causes of the flooding.  Since DC Water had previously ruled out sewer dams and now the Army Corp has ruled out overflow or drainage from McMillan Reservoir, are you guys any closer to determining a cause of all the flooding and more important, are you any closer to coming up with real solutions to the flooding?  Five months is a long time with no answers from DC Water.  If this is priority number one at DC Water, like Mr. Hawkins always claims in the community updates, it`s time for you guys to show it. 
Brice McCracken
Frustrated DC Water Customer

From: Alan R. Heymann
To: Brice McCracken ; Emanuel D. Briggs  
Cc: A long list of other people 
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 10:28 AM
Subject: RE: Bloomingdale/LeDroit Park Sewer Cleaning Project

Mr. McCracken and other members of the community,
We hope to have another community update email today. As to your specific question about the McMillan Reservoir, we posed it to the management of the Washington Aqueduct. The Aqueduct is a unit of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, and provides the treated drinking water that DC Water distributes throughout the District. Here is the response.
The Washington Aqueduct facilities at McMillan Reservoir are similar to any structure or parcel of land in the District of Columbia. The storm runoff will either be absorbed by the surrounding land, or surface runoff over the impervious areas at the treatment plant will enter the storm drains no differently than at the surrounding hospitals. However, the water in the McMillan Reservoir itself is settled water, which is partially treated water supplied from the Georgetown Reservoir sedimentation basins. The settled water is filtered and disinfected at the McMillan Treatment Plant and sent by gravity to the Bryant Street Pump Station for distribution around the District. The McMillan Reservoir level is a function of the Georgetown Reservoir level, not rainfall, which is controlled by the Dalecarlia Treatment Plant. The levels are monitored continuously. 
The McMillan Reservoir is designed to prevent runoff from entering and cannot overflow its banks and enter the stormwater system, even under the most severe weather conditions. Further, there is no emergency drain in the Reservoir to divert water into the stormwater system. Even a total failure of the water transmission process from the Potomac River to Dalecarlia Reservoir to the Georgetown Reservoir would have no impact on the McMillan Reservoir since there is an emergency spillway at Dalecarlia designed to return the excess water back to the Potomac with no impact to the McMillan Reservoir, Bloomingdale or LeDroit Park.      
Alan Heymann
Alan Heymann, Esq. | Chief of External Affairs | DC Water |
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW | Washington, DC 20032 | (202) 787-2616 | (202) 787-2210 (fax)

From: Brice McCracken []
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:57 PM
To: Emanuel D. Briggs
Cc:  A long list of other people
Subject: Re: Bloomingdale/LeDroit Park Sewer Cleaning Project
Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Briggs, and Mr Heymann-
Another month has come and gone with no new updates from DC Water.  I continue to see emails from Mr. Briggs, detailing areas that you are inspecting with CCTV, a project which you previously had said would be completed in September, then in October.  I hate to remind you all, but its November now and December will probably be upon us before you even decide to respond to this email.  When do you all plan to announce something, anything?  I reread an email from Mr. Heymann on November 2, which stated that you guys would be sending out a community update soon, that same email eluded to DC Water being close to announcing a medium-term solution.  That would be nice, as it appears so far DDOT and DDOE are the only one implementing any short-term solutions.  Again, for the record, I understand that DC Water funded the work being done by DDOT, but really, funding a rain garden and a pipe in the middle of Rhode Island Avenue to hold some of the water when Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park flood is insulting.  Even the consultants coordinating the "green project" conceded that these solutions aren't going to have much of an impact when Lake Bloomingdale appears again during the next heavy rain.
I'm curious, after four and a half months, is DC Water any closer to knowing the causes of the flooding?  We, your customers, still are waiting for answers.  Originally, we were told that we would get answers at the hearing in front of Councilmember Cheh on September 25, now we're two months past that and still don't have any answers.  How hard is it for you guys to communicate what is being done to your customers?  Are you hoping that as time passes and we get farther away from the summer rainy season, that we will just forget the 4 floods of this summer and the countless other floods from years past?  Every community meeting I have attended in recent weeks has had neighbor after neighbors voicing their concerns and frustration about the "solutions" put forth by DC Water and the Mayor.  When are we actually going to see real ideas being put forth?  When are you going to address the causes of the flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park?  More importantly, why are there not representatives from DC Water at community meetings like the Bloomingdale or LeDroit Park Civic Association Meetings?  Rather than hiding in your offices at Blue Plains, why don't you come out to a community meeting and inform your customers of the "progress" you claim to be making.  Because, from where I sit, nothing has changed in the last five months.  
In the past few weeks, I've talked to neighbor after neighbor about the flooding issues from this summer.  And the question that I have for anyone at DC Water, what happens at McMillan Reservoir when heavy rains come?  Is the reservoir drained at some point to prevent it from overflowing?  And more importantly, when it is drained to prevent it from overflowing, where does that water go?  I'm guessing that its drained right into the same Northeast Boundary Trunk Sewer Line causing all of the flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park.  But, since DC Water never directly responds to any of my emails, I guess I and my fellow neighbors will never know the answers to our questions. 
Brice McCracken

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