“There’s just so much rain. High intensity in a short amount of time, and it overloads our sewer system; and that system just cannot handle that amount of flow,” said John Lisle, a spokesman with DC Water.
Lisle said that the amount of water from heavy rain on Sept. 10 led to a backup of the main sewer line, causing a chain reaction, including overflowing the First Street tunnel that was designed to hold more than 6 million gallons of stormwater. And with nowhere for the water to go, sewage and storm runoff spewed from manholes — filling streets — and pushed water through drains into many D.C. basements — making a smelly mess.
On Sept. 23, the DC Water board of directors approved $1.5 million to help homeowners clean up the mess left from the early September flooding. However, only some households are eligible, so customers must check with the department to see if they can apply.
Each eligible home could receive up to $11,000 from two different programs.
“The first program is emergency cleanup relief, where we will provide up to $5,000 to help people clean up their property,” Lisle said. “The second is our backwater valve program, where we will help pay for the installation of a valve to prevent sewage from backing up in your home. And that program will pay up to $6,000.”
DC Water and other agencies, including D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management, are holding community resource days in relation to that flood event across the District.
On Thursday, residents in Deanwood can head to the Deanwood Recreation Center. The agencies will be at the North Michigan Recreation Center on Friday. And next week, they can be found at Langdon Park Recreation Center. All locations will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“There were a lot of people who suffered flooding on Sept.10. So we are trying to meet their needs and make them whole and get their properties back together and to ensure they don’t experience flooding the next time,” Lisle said.