D.C. Water claims Brookland residents are liable for sewer damage

(WJLA) - D.C. Water crews are still repairing the sewer system on Kearny Street – weeks after the April 30 flood here in which raw sewage spewed out of toilets and drains.

Yet Monica Lester, who ran a basement daycare from her home, learned yesterday that crews will not pay for the damage, because she didn’t warm them beforehand that there was a sewer problem.

All of her little ones are upstairs now, with the basement sealed:

"I said, 'you found concrete and roots in my sewer and I'm supposed to make you aware that they're there? That's your job.''

D.C. Water did admit that is what they found in its sewers, but say the residents are still liable.

Phil Blair, whose basement was gushing with sewage, doesn’t understand how D.C. Water is not taking responsibility. But the company said in a statement:

"We did not have any prior knowledge of the problem, which is a standard legal threshold in claims for damages."

Merna Robinson says it made her basement apartment a disaster, and that her insurance will not pay for it:

"We're left to clean up and we're left with the flooding, the damage on our own -- somebody at Water and Sewer Authority need to take responsibility."

So the crews continue to work, presumably to make sure it doesn’t happen again – while denying that D.C. Water is to blame.