Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brice McCracken: "DC Water admits knowing it has had an inferior or inadequate sewer infrastructure"

Be sure to see the long document at the bottom of this message, obtained via a FOIA request.

From: Brice McCracken 
To: "<>" <>; "Clark, Timothy (Council)" <> 
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 11:33 AM
Subject: Fwd: Freedom of Information Act Request #12-12-07
CM McDuffie, Tim and Scott-
I'm sending this document out so that neighbors in Bloomingdale and LeDroit park can see "the report" referenced in their damage claim denial letters from PMA, DC Water's insurance company/third party administrator.  The attached 16 page document is what was sent to me by DC Water in response to my FOIA request for copy of "the report".  The document sent to me from DC Water contains nothing new, but rather it contains the same DC Water talking points that we have been hearing since July 10, 2012.  What is most disturbing to me is a section of the report which reads, "Past engineering studies conclude that the main sewers in the NEB drainage area have significant capacity limitations. For a detailed discussion on past engineering studies, refer to Section 2.4 Prior Studies. Studies dating back to 1955 support the conclusion that the flooding experienced this summer was due to inadequate capacity in the trunk sewers of the NEB drainage area. For storm collection and conveyance, DC Water established the 15-year storrn as the design standard for the system. Most of the pipes in the Northeast Boundary drainage area were constructed before 1910, well before the current design standard was established. The existing NEBTS and many of its trunk sewers do not have the capacity to convey storms with a 2- to 15-year return frequency without surcharging and leading to backflow conditions. Computer model simulations (performed between 2006 and 2012) indicate that the NEB trunk sewers do not have adequate capacity to properly handle the type of storms experienced this summer. These simulations of the NEB collection system reinforce the conclusions of past studies, namely that the trunk sewers in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park do not have the capacity to carry storm flows such as those experienced in July and September of 20l2. The computer simulations also predicted many of the locations where street flooding and surface ponding would be expected to occur."
So DC Water again admits knowing they have had an inferior or inadequate sewer infrastructure in this area and they have studies going back to 1955 to illustrate this.  When are they going to be held accountable for the damages that they have inflicted upon this community?  For almost 58 years, DC Water, DC WASA, DC DPW and the Army Corp of Engineers have known that this problem existed and no one thought to fix it?  How is that right?  How are they not being held accountable by the Council?  If Maryland can sanction Pepco for its failures, why can't DC sanction DC Water for the same types of inactions? 
On a side note, the Council passed the flooding related bills several weeks ago, has Mayor Gray signed them?  
Brice McCracken   

1 comment:

  1. Pepco is company with shareholders. DC Water is a government agency. For the DC government to hold DC Water accountable, it would have to be good at holding all government agencies accountable.