Serious Flooding in Bloomingdale

@ColonelKSpeaks sends the shot of the flooding from Rhode Island Ave, NW between 1st and 2nd Street.

Update More photos from folks at Boundary Stone (1st and Rhode Island Ave, NW). I’m happy to report that Boundary Stone remains dry and open!

Check out the Fire Department. I’m told they have boats and scuba gear:

Continues after the jump.

CH writes from Rustik:

“All the manhole covers got blown off by the force of the water.”

Update of “Bloomingdale river #1”:

Bloomingdale river #2:

Bikes outside Rustik (1st and T St, NW):

Another reader sends in some shots from the 4800 block of Georgia in front of Golden Heart Yoga:

43 Comment

  • The radio keeps calling this “light rain.” … really?!

  • Whats likely happened is the derecho caused a lot of leaves/branches to get into storm gutters and inlets. This substantial rain at sag points and low points in roads is not draining properly like a clogged bathtub its filling up.

    DDOT should have come through this past week after the trees were cleared and maintained the low point inlets. This is what happens when you dont.

    • But wouldn’t the manhole covers blowing off indicate that water was getting into the storm drains? Maybe there was just too much.

      And it’s either DPW or DC WASA that handles cleanup of storm drains, clogs, etc., not DDOT.

  • This raises the question whether biking in Bloomingdale is safe. Your options are limited right now. You can:

    1. Bike to the side of the road and hope.
    2. Bike as fast as you can.
    3. Take up the entire lane and risk drowning.
    4. Bike on the flooded sidewalk.
    5. Bike on a boat.

    Personally, I try to bike on a boat through that area but there’s a lot of water in that part of town. What do others suggest? Is Bloomingdale safe to bike in?

    • DOUBLE WIN. One for the mockage. Another just for writing “bike on a boat.”

    • Right, we’ve all overlooked the most valid point and it’s what are we all going to do with our bikes, fuck outta here.

      • Beneath the wheels of this bike is an inflatable hovercraft designed to maximize comfort and safety while navigating DC’s mean flooded streets.


  • Uh oh… queue the baseless (though possibly true, but really no one knows because there’s no data) rhetoric about what will happen if they ever put a building on McMillan. “OH NO! The flooding is so bad now, Bloomingdale will be washed into the sea if we ever build anything more!!”

    I get the concern, what I don’t get is the certitude of the rhetoric.

  • Pic 6: Poopy or leaves?

  • DC Water cleans catch basins annually as part of a routine schedule and on demand when we get requests. We also clean them in flood-prone areas when major storms are predicted.

    To report a clogged catch basin, call us anytime at (202) 612-3400.

    DC Water
    Office of External Affairs

    • I’d like to report that a lot of drains appeared to be ‘clogged’ tonight – or your system just can’t handle the water? Maybe time to upgrade? My place flooded – where do I file a claim?

      • The sewer system under this part of the District was installed generations ago by the federal government. At the time, populations were smaller, rains were likely lighter, and people weren’t commonly living in basements. The system was not designed to handle the volume it handles today. We inherited this system and are working to upgrade it, but this is not a fast, simple or inexpensive process.

        We do clean every catch basin in the District once a year, and we come through flood-prone areas to do more cleaning every time a big storm is predicted. This one was not part of any weather forecast. The volume of rain in such a short period would overwhelm many catch basins as well.

        The best short-term solution is a backflow preventer, which a licensed plumber can install. The long-term solution is enlarging the capacity of the sewer system, which will come as part of our Clean Rivers Project. It is a 20-year, $2.6 billion effort to build 13 miles of tunnels, which will capture stormwater and sewage and send them to our Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tunnel will start at Blue Plains and is under construction now. The last segment will make its way from RFK Stadium to Gallaudet University and will relieve the historic flooding problems in Bloomingdale, Eckington and Edgewood.

        More details are here: Customers with questions can feel free to email us at [email protected] or call (202) 612-3400 anytime.

        DC Water
        Office of External Affairs

        • Rain was lighter years ago?

          Where’s that glorious factoid coming from?

          • Why are you being such a jerk? What makes you more of an authority on rain water than DC Water?

          • Anon 9:25am

            “The amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased approximately 20 percent on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places.

            One of the clearest precipitation trends in the United States is the increasing frequency and intensity of heavy downpours. This increase was responsible for most of the observed increase in overall precipitation during the last 50 years. In fact, there has been little change or a decrease in the frequency of light and moderate precipitation during the past 30 years, while heavy precipitation has increased. In addition, while total average precipitation over the nation as a whole increased by about 7 percent over the past century, the amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest 1 percent of rain events increased nearly 20 percent.112”

            -Kunkel, K.E., P.D. Bromirski, H.E. Brooks, T. Cavazos, A.V. Douglas, D.R. Easterling, K.A. Emanuel, P.Ya. Groisman, G.J.
            Holland, T.R. Knutson, J.P. Kossin, P.D. Komar, D.H. Levinson, and R.L. Smith, 2008: Observed changes in weather and climate extremes. In: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate: Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands [Karl, T.R., G.A. Meehl, C.D. Miller, S.J. Hassol, A.M. Waple, and W.L. Murray (eds.)]. Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3. U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Washington, DC, pp. 35-80.


            It always pays to check on things before you get snarky

        • TO DC WATER —

          I am sick and tired of your lousy explanations on why you can’t fix the drainage problems in the Bloomingdale area. You have allowed this situation to persist for 20+ years. In addition, putting in a backflow diverter will not totally solve the problem, as you claim. It’s time our DC elected officials closely monitored your actions in order to make sure that you undertake corrective actions, without all the BS explanations.

          • Mr. Norman,

            We are fixing the problem, and we have explained exactly how in the message above. In addition, we are arranging a briefing for Councilmember McDuffie so he can understand the history of this situation and the path forward.

            We never suggested that a backflow preventer is a perfect solution. It is the best solution in the short term.

            DC Water

          • If you’ve lived here 20+ years, then you know that Marion Barry’s administration completely ignored the infrastructure challenges facing an aging, Northeastern city. As residents and businesses fled the city during his dysfunctional years, tax revenues declined and there was little, if any, funding available for such projects. Anyone who voted for him is part of the problem.

            Since its creation as an independent public authority, DC Water has done a stupendous job trying to play catch-up with these infrastructure projects. Its Clean Water Project is a MAJOR, multi-year effort that, unfortunately, will take years to complete.

            (And I do NOT work for DC Water).

          • +1 Tom.

            I agree with you. I do not work for DC Water. Situation frustrating? Of course, without a doubt. It seems easy to want to blame someone (maybe mother nature)? and DC Water is the easy and obvious target. DC Water inherited the water systems and it was a mess. Just the issue of the presence of lead that was covered up prior to DC Water taking things over should be one illustration.

          • DC Water should be elevated to sainthood for its exercise in patience in profesionalism in the face of certain petulent, entitled commenters on this thread.

          • I am in fact entitled to the expectation that I not have raw sewage in the near as well as long term back up into my house. It is a health hazard.

          • No. You are not. There is no such right.

          • I didn’t claim a right. I claimed and expectation. As in, I can reasonable expect that the service I contract for, ie. opening an account, with DC Water will be provided. If the back flow preventer (or whatever method) is the only reliable way to fulfill this expectation through the contract of service, then DC Water should provide this. I am not appealing to the Constitution for some inalienable right. I don’t need to do so.

          • Feel free to continue expecting then. Just don’t think that anyone is obligated to act according to your expectation.

        • Wow, I just gotta say (seriously no snark here) I’m impressed to see DC Water wading into the PoP comment board to respond to concerns. I feel for anyone whose basement was flooded in the storm, and I won’t say there aren’t things DC Water could do better on, but this was a pretty good response–informative about the long-term problem and short-term issues, the mitigating steps DC Water already takes, a contact number for folks to request other short-term solutions, a concrete solution to one source of in-home flooding, and details on DC Water’s long-term plan. Again, it doesn’t help dry out anyone’s flooded basement today, but no government agency is omnipotent, and I am just grateful to have a city government that gives substantive responses to complaints, even in an out-of-the-way forum like this.

          • Totally agree with you. I’m sure a lot of people at agencies like this would avoid at all costs responding in contentious comment boards like this – so thanks DC Water officer for your calm and informative responses. We need more such responsive agencies in this area! (also not a DC Water or DC agency worker).

      • I’m sorry your place flooded, that really is a bummer. The way I’ve understood it is that even if you have homeowners or renters insurance, floods are not covered under average policies. I believe you have to buy additional coverage specific to flooding. Other PoP commenters may join in and will surely correct me if I am mistaken.

        I wish you a full and successful clean-up effort. I was really surprised by the flooding in Bloomingdale area, specifically. I expected it in Old Town or parts of Georgetown.

  • submerged bike tires

  • This isn’t too surprising. Parts of Bloomingdale are quite low. In 2001, 7 inches of rain fell on DC. Sewer lines got totally overwhelmed and backed up into houses all over DC but Bloomingdale got hit particularly hard.

    I was in the CVS at Dupont waiting out the downpour but it just didn’t stop. I decided to just walk through it and get soaked. 17th St. was like a 3″ deep river. It was unbelievable.

  • I was running in Rock Creek Park when the deluge started. It was quite amazing to see Rock Creek turn into white water rapids. Also, the force of the sewer discharge outlet along Piney Branch Parkway was literallly shaking the ground around where 17th meets PBP.

  • Fact of the matter is, basements flood. That was a substantial amount of water that fell yesterday evening in short period of time. And with that amount of water hitting pavement, has to go somewhere. And yes, the sewers are old and in need of replacing and repair, but I doubt even new sewers would have stopped water from going into a basement, especially if you live in a low lying area or in a home that has ground sloping towards the house. Also, much of the earth in this area is high in clay content and therefore does not absorb fast or hold much water. Furthermore, many basements are near to the water table and your basement is the first place water goes when it rises.
    This was something that plagued my basement for years….so I installed a sump pump. No problem now.
    DC Water has issues but a torrential Baptist downpour is not one of them.
    (and no, I don’t work for DC Water)

  • I went for a run in this through the RCP. These picture capture only part of the carnage that occurred during the downpour. I’m surprised there wasn’t more coverage of this storm. My route starts on calvert loops over to connecticut, across the bridge near Open City, down into the park to first overpass, turn around, head to back entrance of the Zoo and then up Adams Mill Road. Through this loop I witnessed abandoned cars with water well over halfway up that multiple police jeeps and cars were trying to rescue, multiple sections of road that had 6-12 inches of water, and seemingly raging rapids down Adams Mill Road. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those cars on the side of the street slid down the hill. Anyone else have an amazing run during that downpour?

  • Immediate actions, fine. Long term fix, fine. We need mid-term actions (stuff that can alleviate flooding within the next 12-24 months) that will preserve property prices and give people a fighting chance. I can’t find any such thing, either wasa’s site or any dc gov.

Comments are closed.