DC Water offers up to $5K to dry out basements after flooding from overwhelmed sewer system

Financial help is being made available to D.C. homeowners who had sewage backups Sept. 10, when the city’s sewer system was overwhelmed by record rainfall in a short period of time.

DC Water has announced the creation of a $1.5 million fund to help customers clean up after the historic rainfall.

“DC Water has decided to create a brand-new fund to help customers who are struggling with remediation costs like drying out basements or removing moldy drywall. That program will pay homeowners up to $5,000 toward the cost of drying out their basements,” said David Gaddis, CEO and general manager of DC Water.

Gaddis said during a Wednesday online town hall meeting that storm drains functioned well in last week’s storm and there were no hardware failures, but the aging sewer system could not handle the huge amount of water, which caused sewer backups in homes, particularly in Northeast.

The cleanup fund is only part of the financial aid plan. Gaddis also announced a major expansion of the agency’s “backflow valve reimbursement program.”

A backflow valve is designed to stop flow from coming back from the sewer and entering the basement.

“DC Water will pay the cost, which can run upward of $6,000 per home, to install these valuable plumbing devices in the home,” Gaddis said.

In the online meeting, DC Water executives reminded residents that parts of its sewer system date to 1894, and the agency said it’s doing all it can to improve the infrastructure.

DC Water’s chief operating officer said construction projects that are currently ongoing should prevent raw sewage flooding homes in the future.

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