Residents in northeast Washington question if their missing mail was tossed down drains

Residents in northeast Washington question if their missing mail was tossed down drains. (ABC7 photo)

In miserable weather on Tuesday morning, DC Water crews pulled piles of soggy, stinky mail out of the catch basin and sewer system at Anacostia Avenue and Douglas Street in northeast Washington.

The Postal Service retrieved 25 bags of mail over two days this week with the help of DC Water.

DC Water says the bags were handed off to the USPS IG's office.

Residents suspect the mail was dumped there by a U.S. Postal Service employee while the regular mailman was off last week.

The case was referred to the USPS Inspector General, responsible for investigating employee misconduct.

The problem was first discovered by Vincent Wright while trying to help his neighbor clear a clogged drain. Wright discovered mail in the pipe, and then found the apparent source in the sewer.

Some residents in the neighborhood complain - until Monday - that it had been at least a week since any mail had been delivered.

In the stack Wright pulled out of the catch basin, he says he found bills and even a check.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Tom Ouellette gave ABC7's Sam Ford the following statement, saying in part that customers in the northeast Washington area may contact the Consumer Affairs Office with questions regarding their mail at (202) 636-1200 or (202) 636-1259. Here is the full statement:

"The Postal Service takes this matter very seriously and we apologize for any inconvenience that this incident has caused customers. The majority of the mail was returned to the Postal Service today and employees are working hard to identify mail that is still suitable for delivery. We will make every effort to deliver all mail, but some of the mail in question experienced too much water damage to be delivered. Customers in the Northeast DC area with specific service questions can call the Consumer Affairs Office at 202-636-1200 or 202-636-1259."

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