City Desk

Downtown Sinkhole Blamed on Blocked Storm Drain

The good news is that the downtown sinkhole at 14th and F Streets should be fixed by Friday. The bad news is that fixing it is going to come with a hefty price tag.

Speaking in front of the sinkhole this afternoon, Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said the roads surrounding the sinkhole, which have been at least partially closed since it opened up a week ago, will reopen by Friday. Repairing the broken sewer line that caused the hole will likely cost DC Water nearly $2 million, according to DC Water general manager George Hawkins.

While the sinkhole was first blamed on a falling piece of concrete breaking a sewer line, an investigation has revealed that the true cause was more complicated, according to Hawkins.

Hawkins thinks that a manhole near F Street's Hamilton restaurant blocked a sewer drain, causing rain water to flow not into the sewer, but into the ground under the road. As it washed away the dirt, it created a gap under the road, which caused the piece of concrete to fall onto the sewer line and accelerate the sinkhole's development.

Photo by Will Sommer

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  • Actually

    Standard WASA response: It's not our fault! It's someone else's fault! And now we need to raise your water rates.

    Also loved George Hawkins' hard hat & safety vest look. Drama queens!

  • http://ConsDem ConsDem

    @Actually - What do you know about the sewer system? Your response the reason why and to the wearing of safety equipment is childish.

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