Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bloomingdale resident Brice McCracken weighs in on property damage claim denial notices

Brice McCracken's message below is addressed to George Hawkins, DC Water General Manager, and others.

Mr Hawkins-
I find it insulting that DC Water timed their announcement of major improvements to the sewer system in my neighborhood with the delivery of denial notices for damage claims filed after the four sewer backflow incidents from this past summer. At no time during your press conference last week or in any communications via email to residents of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park, did you bother to mention that DC Water was going to deny our claims for damage. I think the way that you and your public relations team at DC Water handled this situation is cowardly at best.
After reading over the denial notice from your insurance carrier, PMA, I would like to request a copy of the findings of the investigation referenced in the letter that I received today. The claim by PMA that the catch basins were cleaned several days prior to occurrences is a half truth at best. In fact after the first flood on July 10th, your crews did not come out until the day after to inspect the storm drains and catch basins and it was still another day or so after that, before the catch basins were actually cleaned. The claim that DC Water is sympathetic to problems that have arisen in my neighborhood is a bold face lie. DC Water has known about these issues for years and failed to address them, which is why these four floods and backflow incidents occurred this summer. If DC Water was sympathetic, it would not only be making the improvements to its infrastructure that you announced last week, but it would also be paying the damage claims that were submitted because it had failed to modernize the aging and antiquated sewer system it maintains. I still think it ironic the the agency charged and mandated with repairing, replacing and modernizing the District`s water and sewer lines isn`t responsible when it has failed to do just that. The sewer lines in this neighborhood date back to the late 1800`s and you have not made any attempt to modernize them, which is the reason this neighborhood floods in heavy rain. Study after study has told you that the sewer lines in this neighborhood specifically aren`t able to handle large volumes and yet DC Water, DC WASA and predecessor agencies have ignored all the findings. How can you and DC Water then not accept liability for damages stemming from the sewer system that you have failed to maintain?
While you may have made a major announcement last week that benefits my neighborhood, the fact that DC Water is now denying the damage claims from property owners is ridiculous and insulting. I can only hope that some day you are some day treated by DC Water and your insurance company, the way that my neighbors and I have been treated for the past five months. Hopefully you too can experience damage to your home by a water pipe or sewer line that hasn`t been modernized by DC Water, so you too can have your claim denied and the costs of repairs and replacement of destroyed personal property left for you to pay for, even though the damage wasn`t your fault.
Angry and Frustrated,
Brice McCracken

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