During Flood Awareness Week, DC Water Reminds Customers to Prepare for Summer Rainstorm Events

June 21, 2021

With summer storm season approaching, DC Water today urged all customers to take proactive steps to protect themselves from the most common flooding damage.

The Authority also released a detailed update of the more than $1 million in assistance provided to customers who were impacted by severe flooding last September.

“We want to empower our customers to protect themselves,” said DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David L. Gadis. “The more our customers know about flooding, the less likely they are to be impacted when the District is subject to heavy rain events."

Beginning today, the District is marking “Flood Awareness Week” with a series of events intended to help residents and businesses prepare for the impact of floods. DC Water is partnering on some of those activities, in addition to its own outreach efforts to reach customers and help them avoid being impacted by floods.

The week will culminate with a community outreach event at Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center in Ward 4 where DC Water staff will share resources with residents to help them prevent flooding and respond to it if it happens, including the Authority’s Guide to Preventing Sewer Backups and Flooding.

The September 10, 2020 storm was an unusually intense event that dumped almost three inches of stormwater on the District in a two-hour period and overwhelmed the sewer infrastructure. DC Water quickly responded by providing unprecedented direct assistance to customers who experienced flooding as a result of the storm. That included $588,000 for remediation services – such as drying basements and removing moldy drywall - at 183 properties. In addition to the sewer cleaning services provided, DC Water reimbursed 155 customers for their cleaning costs up to a maximum of $5,000 for a total payout of $517,141.

DC Water also expanded its Backwater Valve Program in the aftermath of the September 10 floods. To date, the Authority has approved 337 requests to pay for the installation of valves to prevent sewage backups in customers' homes in future storms. Also known as backflow prevention devices, the backwater valves are installed on a sewer lateral that connects a building to the public sewer in the street. The device allows flow to go in only one direction (out), preventing wastewater from entering the building when strong storms cause sewage backups.

Some neighborhoods have been identified as at-risk for flooding. Residents of those neighborhoods may be eligible for a discount when they install a backwater valve. They can call 202-787-2003 or email Emanuel.Briggs@dcwater.com for more information.

As always, DC Water reminds customers that the most important step they should take with respect to flooding is to check their insurance coverage and consider adding coverage if necessary. The District Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) has insurance tips and other useful information on its website at https://www.disb.dc.gov.

In addition, to prepare for potential storms and flooding, customers should:

  • Sign up for text or email alerts at www.dcwater.com/dc-water-alert-notification-signups
  • Report clogged storm drains by calling the 24/7 Command Center at (202) 612-3400 or online at www.dcwater.com/report-problem.
  • Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of debris.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes a 3-day supply of food and water.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio nearby for important news.
  • If damage is extensive, listen to the media or visit dcwater.com for information about water and sewer infrastructure and the safety of your drinking water.
  • Visit ready.gov for more information and safety tips.