“Is it just me or is this absurd?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

I live in Adams Morgan and there is a vague notice posted in my building from the City saying that the water will be shut off for 6-8 hours, Tuesday, starting at 7 pm. Is it just me or is this absurd? Our front desk person thought perhaps the work would end at 7 pm, but the notice is kind of unclear. Is nighttime construction work a common practice in the city? If so, is the water usually turned off during the whole window of time?”

Ed. Note: When I lived in an apartment building near the Zoo it was not uncommon to have daytime water cutoffs but we never had one at night. Anyone else ever have one at night?

25 Comment

  • Very common. Has happened to us almost 6 times in the past two years. They do it at night, because it affects the least number of people and it’s shut off for the entire block of time. So yeah, just you.

    • Seems like doing it during the day would affect the least number of people, unless it’s an area full of businesses and offices. At night people are home and washing dishes and using the toilet, etc.

  • gotryit

    It’s just you. Sometimes, work has to be done on plumbing that requires the water to be shut off. If the work being done is to the main water line coming into the building, then water to the whole building needs to be shut off. As long as this isn’t repeated too much / prolonged, that’s just life.

  • We had a couple of evening shutoffs when they were doing massive sewer/water line work (the kind that closed a couple of blocks of a very busy street, rerouting buses, etc.), but if I recall they announced the times many days in advance and it was never off all night, only until maybe 8 or 9 pm. Daytime shut offs are a lot more common, I feel bad for the folks working at home or alternative schedules but it does seem the best time to do it to minimize inconvenience.

  • Not absurd at all. When I lived in a building the water would get shut off routinely for work or necessary repairs. Now we that live in a row house, the city will occasionally shut off water as well.

  • There was a manhole/sewer cover and large piece of pipe on Columbia Rd at Wyoming Ave. on Sunday with a corresponding hole in the sidewalk, I’m going to assume it’s related.

  • My experience has been power shutoffs late at night, and water shutoffs during the workday. Most (of course not all) people work during the day, and do domestic chores in the evening and early morning.

  • DC Water (which is actually not “the city” as the OP stated, but a quasi-governmental agency with a Board made up of members from DC/MD/VA, just like Metro, so please don’t blame “the city” for this it gets blamed (rightfully) for enough), really does try to minimize impact of cut off times. This may be the only time they are able to do it and impact the least number of people. It stinks and will be inconvenient, but it does happen.

    • IIRC, DC Water reads POP too, so maybe they’ll chime in here and share with us with the usual practices are.

  • In Van Ness, we have been having a number of evening shut offs recently. It’s nothing to be alarmed about.

  • it’s you

  • Welcome to Adams Morgan! Land of the ancient plumbing :/ with beautiful old buildings comes.. Old pipes as well. We have had lots of water shut offs, some at night, some during the day.. Some with notice and others without. Be grateful you got a notice! Some of ours were building specific- neighbor’s shower leaked, and other times it was the entire block shut off by DC water, very annoying.

  • justinbc

    Well, it’s probably not “just you”, as there are very likely many other people who think the world revolves around their needs too.

  • They did this to us around 9 or 10pm one evening at 10th and Monroe NW. We didn’t get the courtesy of a notice, we just lost water. I went to bed before it came back on so I don’t know how long it actually lasted.

  • I’ve had cutoffs that usually run from 9pm to 5am a few times. I hate it, because I’m a night owl, but I get that most people have 9 – 5-ish schedules, and shutting the water off in the neighborhood during this shift means that most people will be asleep during the time period when the water is shut off, so the impact is minimized.

  • Just had the same thing happen last Wednesday (I’m at Euclid and Champlain). Absolutely no water from 10pm until 4am. So fill up your brita filter – we didn’t plan accordingly

  • i lived on 17th and Euclid for over a year and we had the water cut off several times overnight… sorry!

  • My building (20th and Florida) shut the water off about two weeks ago from 6 to 10 PM citing the yearly water line work/inspection by DC Water.

  • not absurd it happens. They need to shut off water to do construction and repairs sometime. It happens

  • I’ve lived in Adams Morgan for a little over a year and twice thus far we’ve had water cut off around 8pm for 6-8 hours. It’s ridiculous. It seems we don’t get much warning time and end up coming home from work to no water running (I’ll acknowledge both my husband and I work late, but 8pm isn’t a time when most people are done using water for the night.) The city hasn’t t been clear about WHY they are shutting the water off, or why it happens when it does.

  • Happened to me a few years ago and I’ve never been the same.

  • If it’s DC Water that means it’s utility work not just simple plumbing in your building, which means they are digging up a pipe somewhere (probably in the street). So in order to keep people like you from complaining about them doing work in the street and affecting your commute they do it at night while most people are asleep. Just think how terrible it is for you that your water is turned off and then think about the guys in the muddy hole 10 feet below the ground fixing the pipe in the middle of the night. Life could be worse.

  • I’ve lived in Adams Morgan for 3 years, and I feel like this has happened 3-5 times since I’ve lived here, all within the past 6 months or so, so this is at least somewhat new. I thought it was related to the big issues over on Biltmore Street, where they have been working on the road and/or (?) the utilities that run underground.

  • ThunderCheese

    DC Water recently left us a note warning of a water outage from 10pm-2am. The water was actually off from 9:45pm to 10pm, only 15 minutes.

  • Extremely common. I live in an older (c. 1950-something) building in Logan Circle and the water gets shut off all the time. Sometimes it’s construction, other times water main issues, most of the time building issues.

    I’ve never lived somewhere that the water is turned off as often as it is in DC.

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