Emergency Water Main Repair
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DC Water Repairing Sewer Line Near Rock Creek Park;

August 29, 2014


Media Contacts: John Lisle, DC Water, 202-812-5006
Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, National Park Service, 202-619-7177

DC Water crews are making repairs to a damaged sewer line in Adams Morgan, near Rock Creek Park. The 24-inch cast iron sewer dates back to 1885. On Wednesday, August 27, a DC Water inspection crew discovered a blockage in the sewer at 20th and Biltmore Streets, NW that resulted in a sanitary sewer overflow out of CSO outfall 40, which discharges to Rock Creek. The sewage did not come in contact with the ground. The overflow was estimated at 1,200 gallons of untreated waste.

DC Water responded immediately, setting up a bypass to direct sewage back into the sewer system while crews work to clear the blockage and make any needed repairs. The bypass was in place Thursday morning, effectively stopping the overflow, and allowing crews to being repairs.

A Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) occurs when untreated wastewater spills or overflows. In this case, the waste was not mixed with stormwater.

The public is cautioned to avoid contact with the water in Rock Creek for 72 hours from below Calvert Street Bridge, south of the National Zoo, to the mouth of Rock Creek.
The NPS discourages public fishing and recommends creek users sanitize equipment which has come into contact with Rock Creek south of the outfall. DC Water advises the public to stay away from any sewer pipe discharge due to the potentially harmful substance it may contain.

With nearly 1,800 miles of sewer lines throughout its service area, DC Water appreciates notification from the public if a sewer back up is suspected. Please call the 24-hour Emergency Command Center at 202-612-3400 at any time to report water or sewer emergencies in the District of Columbia. More information on the sewer system can be found at