One in Ten

So it's the DC Water and Sewer Authority's (WASA) job to make sure that all the fire hydrants in the city are in proper working order. Once a city agency is in charge of something, failure becomes inevitable. When the Georgetown Library was ablaze, firefighters noticed that the two closest hydrants to the library were broken. Obviously, that makes it harder to put out a fire.

Thankfully, the DC Firefighters Association decided to fuck WASA's noise by checking the hydrants themselves. The results are hilarious. And by "hilarious," I mean "life threatening."

WASA's shit is not together. They claim 38 hydrants are out across the city. In actuality, it's probably over 900. That's over 10% of city's hydrants that aren't working. Since WASA is blind to this, they can't tell the firefighters what's up. In the words of DC Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin, fighting fires in DC is akin to "playing Russian roulette."

Perhaps even more hilariously, there are 125 hydrants that aren't even on WASA's maps. It's hard to check to see if a hydrant is working if there is no record of its existence.

Let's check to see how other cities and counties are doing regarding fire hydrants:

In neighboring counties with newer infrastructure, there are few problems. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission maintains about 40,000 hydrants in Prince George's County and more than 20,000 in Montgomery County. Of those, about a dozen in various locations were out of commission on a recent day, and repairs were imminent, officials said.

In Baltimore and Baltimore County, where there are about 22,000 hydrants, 91 are out of service, according to Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Public Works Department, which also oversees hydrants in the county. The fire departments in the city and county conduct quarterly tests to maintain them, Kocher said.

It takes a special city to make Baltimore look good by comparison.

WASA has a long history of incompetent suckage, too:

The problems once again put WASA under public scrutiny over safety issues. High lead levels in D.C. drinking water posed a potential health hazard from late 2001 to 2004, and WASA was criticized for failing to quickly alert the public. The agency later agreed to replace all lead pipes in the city.

[Jerry N.] Johnson is the only person to serve as WASA's general manager, having overseen the quasi-independent agency since 1997.

Perhaps it's time Jerry looked for a new line of work. He'd be better suited quasi-independently flipping burgers. He is doing a terrible job. I mean, if your home or business ends up on fire, you have a 10% chance of getting fucked over. Unbelievable.


  1. AnonymousMay 18, 2007

    I think it would be neat to do a street art project and paint all the non-working hydrants in some sort of comical way.

    At least then all the neighbors could identify that their hyrdrants weren't working.

    As an added bonus we coud make fun of the city as they come out and re-paint them instead of just fucking fixing them.

  2. yournamehereMay 18, 2007

    In actuality, it's over 100.

    That article suggests it's around 900.

  3. Oops. Duh. I got confused and used the number of confirmed broken hydrants. It's been fixed.

  4. The hydrant outside my apartment building on MacArthur Blvd had one of those service tags on it. As did another one on MacArthur Blvd that I pass on my daily route. I will have to check on them today when I get home.

    This is what happens when you encourage a city to put off preventive maintenance by slashing budgets.

  5. I wonder where that headline came from...

  6. AnonymousMay 18, 2007

    Anyone whose vehicle is parked in front of a nonoperational hydrant should not have to pay if they receive a parking ticket.

  7. AnonymousMay 18, 2007

    Rusty is a Douche .....

  8. Does this mean you can park in front of these broken hydrants?

    That's 900 additional spaces holla!

  9. AnonymousMay 19, 2007

    I know the District has its problems, but you sure are letting Charm City, not to mention Montgomery and PG, off the hook pretty easily. From my experience with Baltimore, if 10% of the District's hydrants are out, chances are 20% of Baltimore's are. But it really doesn't matter, as long as you Believe.

  10. AnonymousMay 19, 2007

    Rusty is a Douche who should move to Baltimore and fuck crackwhores .....

  11. DC haterMay 20, 2007

    In addition to neglecting our city's fire hydrants, WASA also steals stuff out of people's houses. (Check out the article in this week's City Paper.)

  12. I hate RustyMay 20, 2007

    Rusty WASA is coming for you, ahahahahahahahahahaha

  13. AnonymousMay 20, 2007

    I blame the latinos

  14. AnonymousMay 20, 2007


    You point out that a city agency like WASA doesn't have control over its hydrants, citing the DCFA checked against WASA's claims and found that (surprise) more hydrants are out of service than stated.

    Then you turn around and cite other city and county agencies' claims/numbers and take them at face value? Oooookay.

  15. flip flop white girl riding on the metroMay 20, 2007

    You blame the latinos?
    I blame the blacks!

  16. AnonymousMay 20, 2007

    I hate the blacks more than the latinos but they both suck

  17. massage parlor frequent clientMay 21, 2007



  18. I blame the Fed - the 700lb gorilla on all are backs. Maybe the $12 million the District had to pony up for the Chimps inauguration could have been better spent?

  19. "It takes a special city to make Baltimore look good by comparison."

    oh, HA HA.

    I actually liked this blog until that little "DC-ist"-esque Balto jab.