DC Water Takes Added Steps to Protect Customers During Heavy Rains

October 29, 2020

Additional crews, mechanics and staff from DC Water are on standby today as the authority works to make sure that heavy rainfall in the area does not adversely impact its services.

As usual, most of the effort is centered around storm drains, sewer lines and sewer operations; DC Water expects little to no impact on water delivery for customers based on the heavy rain.

“We prepare for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us,” said Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David L. Gadis. “Everyone from customer service to our men and women in the field are prepared to respond to this heavy rainfall.”

On September 10, heavy rains caused widespread flooding across the east coast, including the District, and many people experienced flooding. The District’s sewer system operated as designed but was overloaded by the historic rainfall that fell in a short amount of time that day. 

Among the preparations by DC Water in anticipation of today’s rain surge:

  • Mechanics, electricians and instrumentation techs are on standby at sewer and stormwater pumping stations.
  • A flatbed truck has already been loaded with hoses and pumps in case they need to be deployed.
  • Three catch basin cleaning crews are working all day to clear clogged storm drains
  • Crews are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any flooding at pump stations.

DC Water has taken many steps to manage stormwater and mitigate flooding, most notably with the award-winning Clean Rivers Project, which has been underway for a decade.

As part of that program, large underground tunnels divert sewage and stormwater overflows away from streets, homes or waterways like the Anacostia River and instead pump it to Blue Plains Treatment plant.

The Anacostia Tunnel project can hold up to 100 million gallons of combined sewage while the First Street Tunnel and other improvements provide 9 million gallons of storage in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park.

As always, DC Water strongly encourages all customers to check their own gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of debris. And if you spot any clogged or blocked storm drains immediately call our command center at 202-612-3400.