DC WASA lets the water flow freely on 13th Street

The District's Water and Sewer Authority hasn't had the best month, or year, or even decade. Low water pressure hampering firefighting, broken water mains, and lead in the water have all been making headlines for a while now.

A reader writes in to report a water leak on 13th Street NW, between Otis and Monroe. It seems water has been flowing from a hole in 13th Street for more than two weeks. DC WASA has been notified about the leak time and again, yet it appears no crews have come on site to repair the problem.

The water may not be "gushing" so to speak, but the photos do show a good amount of water running down 13th Street. Note that when the photos were taken there had not been any rain, the water on the street is a result of the leak.

A few months ago, I noticed water running down 16th Street. I'd say it was similar in amount to what we see pictures above on 13th Street. A few weeks after I first noticed it, WASA had to shut down half of 16th Street to dig up the road between Crescent Place and Kalorama Road.

On Monday, I put in a request for information with WASA regarding the leak on 13th Street. As of Wednesday morning, I have not heard anything back. WASA may well have sent a crew to identify what the problem is, and determined it was not in need of urgent repair. However, for people who live on 13th Street, it's worrisome to see water flow down the street and have no feedback from WASA on what the problem is. Water isn't free, and I have to imagine weeks of water flowing from a hole in the street is damaging for the roadway. Hopefully 13th Street won't collapse into a sinkhole.

If you have a problem with the city you'd like me to investigate, or you think would make a good story for the site, please feel free to contact me.


  1. I live on this block. I too find it annoying that WASA can't be bothered to fix the issue.

  2. I live right on the corner of 13th and Otis. I called twice about the issue (both times they said it was already reported), because it appeared to stop briefly, and then started back with a vengence. It's been at least two weeks now, and small potholes have formed, one of which you can see clearly in the second photo. That "puddle" is a 3 inch deep hole, and may be worse now. I'm glad I don't rent a basement anymore.

  3. there are other locations in the city that have the same problem, and i've put in requests to wasa as well. i'd put my money on the sinkhole option, if i was a betting man...

  4. The first time I called, they took the report as though it were new, and thanked me for the info. They even took my contact info so they could reach me with questions (they never called). When I could see it was still running after the first few days, I asked a neighbor who lived adjacent to the leak, and she said she had been calling for a month already.

    I finally called back about a week later. At that point, it would run in the morning, and dry up by the afternoon. They said their first call had come in on JULY 28th (!!!), that it had been checked out by service workers, and considered a low priority leak. Apparently there were much larger water main breaks that were taking higher priority on the service list.

    The leak stopped during the third week of September (woo!), and the road surface was in pretty rough shape for about a week before it was fixed completely. In the end, I guess I'm glad there wasn't a major break, and that the road didn't collapse. I just wish the city were able to (and forward-thinking enough to) stay ahead of problems like these. Our infrastructure is aging. It needs major work, not just a bunch of band-aids!