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Dear PoPville – Who is in Charge of Fixing This?

by Prince Of Petworth July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am 30 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

Can you help me? I phoned 311 about this fire hydrant on my street and was transfered to water and sewerage (or something like that) and reported that someone had run over this fire hydrant and no water was coming out of it-fine, they’d someone out. But as of 530pm today they hadn’t dealt with this issue.

Any recommendations, or perhaps asking your readers to call and ask the city to take action? Also… Shouldn’t there water gushing out of this hydrant?

The hydrant us on Wyoming avenue, NW, between 18th and 19th Street. In Adams Morgan.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.”

Well this is disturbing. If 311 didn’t work – who do you think the reader should call? His Council member? DC Water? The Fire Department.

While I’ve never seen a sight like the one above before, unfortunately, the one below is not terribly uncommon:

  • andy

    call your council member. works with muriel.

    • textdoc

      I think this is in Jim Graham’s district, right? Call or e-mail him… he and his team are pretty good at lighting a fire (er, so to speak) underneath the various D.C. government agencies to get them to take care of things.

  • T E

    I’d call the fire department or go to the firehouse on Lanier and tell them in person. They remember the disaster on Adams Mill and will be the most likely to try to take care of this.

  • gonzo

    so, was the expectation that this would be fixed immediately?

    • GDopplerXT

      Well, jeez, how long does it take to call a plumber? I had one come out the very same day when my garbage disposal broke.

      • gonzo

        but that plumber gets to charge you an obscene amount of money for that privilege.

  • JL

    How long has it been since you called 311? I’d give it at least a few days before getting too worked up. You could also try calling WASA or whoever it is back and just confirming that this is on their to-do list.

    • Jerry

      Exactly. When Fenty was mayor, things like this would be fixed right away. You’ve got to keep in mind that this is the Gray era we’re living in. Nothing’s gonna get done too fast, lest someone break a sweat.

      • Anon

        Thats totally unfair and a pretty dumb thing to say. In fact, in my experience, 311 has responded faster to issues under Gray than under Fenty. When I called 311, often i’d have to call for follow ups multiple times. Now I have to call 311 less and I get more timely response. I dont like Gray either, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

        • Anon2

          Well, I live at 20th/Kalorama and had to call 311 three separate times to get a parking sign reinstalled in the ground. It was not a new sign, it was not a new pole, it was simply hammering the exiting pole with signs back into the ground after a tree removal company yanked it out.

          This entire process took 8 weeks and culimnated with me being on the phone with the 311 operator, somebody from d-dot, and the mayor’s office. Frankly it was surreal.

          Alternatively when I called 311 under the Fenty administration for other neighborhood issues (potholes, garbage in a park, etc.) my problems were addressed in a matter of days if not hours.

          I don’t know how much of this is luck and how much is competence, but I’ve been severely unimpressed by what seems to be massive backsliding on responsiveness post-Gray inauguration.

          • Rod

            +1. Say what you will about Fenty’s personality or serious lack thereof, but everyone was held accountable under his administration. Under Gray, questioning any agency’s lack of responsiveness will result in silence from the Gray camp, I guarantee you. Back to business as usual in DC.

      • saf


        Huh, that’s why all those requests for repairs to broken street lights, broken water mains, clogged storms drains, that I put in were completed.

        Wait, no they weren’t. 311 worked just as not-well before as it does now.

  • Eckingtonite

    I’d snag it and put it in my bathroom to hold toothbrushes. A missing one is more likely to get repaired than a broken one, I’d bet.

    • andy

      There you go! Or give it to the kids at Garfield Terrace. They’ll make good use of it.

  • victoria

    They give you a tracking number. Try checking that.

  • Joe Blow

    That poor hydrant looks like it got tired and decided to lay down for a while and take a nap. I totally sympathize.

  • Anon

    The dumbest thing about this is that even when a hydrant has been marked as out of service, you still cant park in front of it! Why the hell not?

    • bob loblaw

      how do you expect them to repair it with your car blocking the way?

      • Anon

        They do a pretty good job on the roads…

        • JL

          Do they?

  • Anonymous

    how do you know it was run over?

  • Hi there. You can report a broken or missing fire hydrant by calling the DC Water 24-hour Command Center at (202) 612-3400, or by sending a tweet to @mydcwater.

    DC Water maintains the District’s nearly 9,200 fire hydrants. The operators at 311 are instructed to transfer calls to us, but it’s possible you reached someone who didn’t know what to do. There is no need to call your councilmember.

    Our Board has set a standard of fewer than 1 percent of the District’s hydrants out of service at any given time because of mechanical issues. We beat the standard almost every month, and repair or replace defective hydrants very quickly.

    For more information, please visit http://www.dcwater.com/hydrants

    DC Water
    Office of Public Affairs

    • P.S. We’ll follow up on the repair request. The new hydrants are designed not to release water when they’re struck.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the info. I was thinking the older ones that release water are probably given higher priority anyway.

  • ontarioroader

    Most hydrants in this city are ‘dry barrel’, meaning the valve is located several feet beneath the hydrant. The operating nut/opening nut located on the top of the hydrant is connected to a shaft that opens the valve down there. The geyser of water most people think of usually only occurs if a ‘wet barrel’ type hydrant is struck.

  • Sherlock Homes

    I work for a fire institute and in my professional opinion, that hydrant looks fine.

  • DC_Union_Thug

    There’s a bunch of construction in that general area, including (I believe) running new water mains. So this may not be a priority until other pieces of the overall project are done.

  • Update: the hydrant is repaired and back in service.

    DC Water
    Office of Public Affairs

  • ChasScott

    Yes. The fire hydrant was replaced today and now has an “Out of Service” sign on the brand new hydrant.
    As for the “quick” turnaround, we first called 311 over three weeks ago when we first submitted a photo to PoP.

  • @ChasScott,

    The water to the hydrant will be turned on this morning. And to be fair to us, you reported the issue to 311 three weeks ago and 311 didn’t contact us about it. (DC Water is an independent agency with its own call center and not under the Mayor’s control.)

    So we first found out about this yesterday, replaced the hydrant yesterday, and will turn it on today. And now you know who to call next time. Can we help you with anything else?

    DC Water
    Office of Public Affairs


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