Sewage and Plumbing Map of Washington, DC By Sarah Hank

To view a larger map please click here

The above map was made by Sarah Hank. She contributed a crime map of DC here.

Sarah writes:

So what was in that water that flooded Bloomingdale in July?

I started this map because I was routing through some census data and came across a weird attribute:  Housing with Incomplete Plumbing.  (Definition here)  I mapped it out, and did not see a real geographic pattern in the tracts that were affected.  It seems like group housing (The United States Soldiers and Airmen’s Home being the biggest example, hospitals possibly being another) has the most to do with places with higher percentages of incomplete plumbing. I’d be interested to see what readers think about this data!

I wanted to add something else related to “sanitary” matters to the map.  With all the flash flooding that happened earlier in the summer, I thought I’d highlight DC’s combined sewage system. I added in a layer showing the extent of the combined sewage system as well as Combined Sewage Overflow outfall locations. If you don’t know about DC’s combined sewage system, it basically means that in certain places in the city, rainfall run off and untreated sewage are combined in the same sewer.  That means that when it rains and the sewer becomes too full, the dirty toilet+rain water has to be released somewhere, namely the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and Rock Creek.  The minimum rainfall to trigger the outfalls is sometimes as low as 0.1 in, and at most 1.7 in. There are other outfalls in town, but I’m not totally sure how those work as I never see water flowing out onto the streets, say, at Q & 22nd NW.  Check out this informative guide from DC Water.  To be clear, DC Water does have a plan to convert the combined system into a separate system.  But for now, heed DC Water’s warning: “Please note that the District of Columbia Department of Health has imposed a ban on swimming in all rivers and creeks in the District of Columbia and any contact with rivers and creeks immediately downstream of any sewer pipe discharge should be avoided.”

Regarding concerns about flooding in Bloomingdale (which from the map, you can see is directly in the middle of the combined sewer area), DC Water has committed an entire page on their site to the issue.  Bloomingdale neighborhood residents who attended a special meeting by DC Water on August 4th would have seen this powerpoint.  I’m not going to claim to understand the situation fully, but it seems to me that the water that flooded the streets as well as numerous basements as a result of backed up sewers was likely the combined rainfall and sanitary waste water that I spoke about above. Raw sewage soup.

Do people know about this?  If there was really human waste in the flood water, why weren’t more people talking about it?

Recent Stories

Thanks to a reader for sending Friday night: “around 10pm someone drove a car into the concierge building that’s part of the Senate Square apartments in NoMa.

From a press release: “The TDC Foundation announced their 7th annual charity Polo tournament will be held on the National Mall on June 15th, 2024. The tournament has become a…

Sweet City Ride

Thanks to Sam for sending this sweet ’66.

Thanks to Kevin for sharing his latest catch from over the weekend: “Popped over to Fletcher’s Cove late this afternoon. Hickory shad were biting, and then came this 32-pound blue…

Looking for something campy, ridiculous and totally fun!? Then pitch your tents and grab your pokers and come to DC’s ONLY Drag Brunch Bingo hosted by Tara Hoot at Whitlow’s! Tickets are only $10 and you can add bottomless drinks and tasty entrees. This month we’re featuring performances by the amazing Venus Valhalla and Mari Con Carne!

Get your tickets and come celebrate the fact that the rapture didn’t happen during the eclipse, darlings! We can’t wait to see you on Sunday, April 21 at 12:30!

Submit your own Announcement here.

There’s a reason Well-Paid Maids has hundreds of positive reviews from happy clients.

The home cleaning company pays cleaners — who are W-2 employees — a living wage starting at $24 an hour. Plus, cleaners are offered benefits, including insurance, 24 paid days off a year, 100% employer-paid commuting costs and more.

Lexi Grant, an operations manager at Well-Paid Maids, said it best: “People deserve their work to be respected and recognized. When that happens, you love what you do, and you create the best results.”

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

The 2024 Bethesda Fine Arts Festival will be held May 11 & 12, 2024 and will feature fine art created by 120 of the nation’s best artists, live entertainment and Bethesda restaurants.

Located in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle, along Norfolk, Auburn

Taste of Western Market: Earth Day Edition

Join us for an unforgettable culinary adventure at Taste of Western Market: Earth Edition! We’re thrilled to do our part in reducing landfill waste by now offering a compost option for all dine-in guests, and what better way to celebrate


Subscribe to our mailing list