7 On Your Side: D.C. family tries to get DDOT to fix sinkhole in their yard

A sinkhole in a residential yard in Northwest D.C. (WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – When a local family was struggling to get the D.C. Department of Transportation to repair a massive sinkhole that’s swallowing their yard, they turned to 7 On Your Side to get results.

The sinkhole opened up months ago, but until Thursday evening, DDOT had done nothing for weeks.

Frederique Irwin looks forward to the day when her son, Julian, has a full run of her Northwest D.C. yard; most of it has sat roped off for months, due to a growing sinkhole. The pipes taking runoff to Rock Creek broke. The pipes are DDOT’s to fix, but the department contracted the job out.

“It’s not a great situation to have an enormous hole in your yard when you have a 1-year-old,” Irwin said.

The DDOT-hired contractor dug in Irwin’s yard in July, realized the problem was bigger than previously thought and said it would be back.

“We get bits and pieces of information, but, frankly, it always comes with, ‘A crew will be there Monday,’ and week after week after week that’s not been the case,” Irwin said.

The Irwins have been left with a sinking feeling, as the hole has gotten bigger and moved closer to their home, not to mention the Porta Potty eyesore in their front yard.

“I’m really irritated,” Irwin said. “This has been going on now since the spring.”

DDOT says the culvert wasn’t where old records said it was, and the scope of the problem required additional work in order to fix—that was part of the delay. The agency acknowledged there have been issues with the city-hired contractor showing up, but a spokesperson says once the work starts, it should be a fairly quick process, adding that DDOT believes the contractor will be at work fixing the problem next week.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Irwins sent ABC 7 News a picture of heavy machinery that had just arrived at their home—a welcome sight for a family waiting to have their yard back to normal and that Porta Potty gone.