Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

This past Saturday, my main drain got backed up. I called DC water and they said I needed a plumbing company to try to open it up and if that doesn’t work, they needed the plumbing company to report the location of the blockage.

A plumbing company came and determined the location and called DC water. DC water said it was outside my property line. The property line is 30 feet from the curb, and that puts the line a few feet away from my basement door under the porch. The next day, DC water sent some crew to confirm the location and they also confirmed the location. However, they said they couldn’t dig the stairs, because it’s structural and they can only dig up to the stairs and I am responsible for digging up the stairs.

This is confusing and obviously disappointing to me. If DC Water is only responsible up to the stairs, the stairs are visible and we really didn’t need to know my property line. At the beginning there was a great emphasis on finding if the problem is inside or outside the property line, but once that was determined, the stairs became the threshold.

Has anyone else in the community experienced this? How can I find the laws and code regarding what DC water is responsible for in terms of cleaning and repairing an aged drain pipe outside my house?

Thank you very much in advance, if you can help with this question or point me in the right direction.”


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