Dear PoP – Flooding in Bloomingdale


“Dear PoP,

I don’t know if anybody outside the neighborhood has seen this, but there is some serious flooding happening on Rhode Island Ave NW, about ten to twenty feet before 1st St. in front of the dry cleaner’s. This picture is from yesterday, but when I walked outside today the puddle had overtaken the entire street. Cars were going through the water at less than 5mph, creating a bit of a traffic jam. Any idea if this is some sort of sewage/drainage problem? Or is this a normal occurrence in Bloomingdale?”

I’ve seen this scene in many neighborhoods around DC. I’m fairly certain it is caused by clogged sewage drains. You can report a problem here or just call 202-612-3400. Anyone else note some flooding around town?

12 Comment

  • In August 2002, I was living in an English basement at 6th & T. I was driving back to my place with a friend when the sky opened up. By the time I got home, the tub drain, sink drain, toilet, and stairwell drain were all going in reverse. The water spout coming out of the tub drain had enough pressure to hit the ceiling. When the sewer finally stopped running in reverse, I had 15 inches of water in my apartment. Nightmare!

  • its a normal occurrence in that location. every big rain.

  • News to all you Dupont Circle/Logan Circle/Bloomingdale/Shaw residents (once we moved to Adams Morgan we started calling it “the flats.”) You can expect sewage backing up in your basement every couple of years. Be prepared to re-finish that space and compensate your tenant whose belongings will be ruined.

  • OR just tell your basement tenants to buy renter’s insurance because the landlord is not responsible for their belongings.

  • Or install a backflow valve and prevent it from happening in the first place?

  • There are places in DC I would never live in an english basement, and houses we skipped right over when we were looking. They are fairly easy to identify with a topographical map. It’s not hard to predict where the flooding problems will occur. The stretch of Thomas St in Bloomingdale just north of where the flooding in this picture is pretty much guaranteed to get flooded whenever there is a sizable rain. It acts as a catch basin for much of the rain water from Bloomingdale and LeDroit. The sewer system is easily overwhelmed, but I hear it’s on the list to be upgraded.

  • My asshole landlord didn’t disclose any of this information to me when I rented a basement in that area. The place flooded several times before I moved out in a few months. Landlord did install sump pump and backflow valve. They work, but they also fail on some occasions.

    Other places in that area have the same problem.

    Stay away.

  • Also, the city is ‘working on it’. But it will be years before they fix the system in that area.

  • How do you install a backflow valve?

  • I’ve always been amused by this bit of geography. In DC, rich folk live on the river bottom and us poor folk live up the hills. One of the few places where the poor don’t live in flood zones! Not 100% correlated of course, but you get the idea.

  • Y’all who’ve experienced flooding will be happy to know that the city this summer invested in repaving the alley between Spring Street and Spring Place because it didn’t drain properly.

    Yeah. The ALLEY.

  • this is what happens when you build on top of an undergrounded river or stream.

Comments are closed.