Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is advising residents to file a claim for flood damage after the Alexandria’s sewer system was backed up by a rush of water 30 times greater than what the city can accommodate in an intense storm last Thursday (July 23).

The most impacted areas were Del Ray, Old Town and Park Fairfax, the latter of which had water reaching to the level of car windows, according to the Alexandria Times.

“While last night’s storm was nearly 30 times more intense than the City’s storm sewer system is designed to handle, the City is currently planning and prioritizing infrastructure improvement projects in the 10-year Capital Improvement Program that will address flooding and drainage issues in less extreme cases,” the city said in a news release.

At one point the Alexandria Fire Department responded to nearly a dozen calls for service to help with flooding throughout the city.

Mayor Justin Wilson said on social media that the city needs to prioritize further investments in climate-resilient infrastructure, since the storm was “between 50 and 100-year but with greater intensity.” ‬

‪Last year it was a “100-year” storm. ‬‪Last night’s storm was between 50 and 100-year but with greater intensity….

Posted by Justin Wilson on Friday, July 24, 2020

The full release from the city is below the jump.

City of Alexandria Advises Residents and Businesses on Cleanup Following Flash Flooding

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2020

Following the severe storms and flash flooding of July 23, the City of Alexandria reminds residents and businesses to exercise caution and be alert for impassable roads, power outages, indoor sewer backups, and other flood-related issues. Last night’s severe storm dropped 2 to 3 inches of rain in 30 minutes, creating a brief, extremely high-intensity event that caused significant flash flooding in many areas, including some not normally impacted by flooding.

CLEANUP

City crews are currently inspecting and cleaning culverts, and clearing curb inlets of debris that may have clogged them during the flooding. Residents removing debris from their property or homes should place it curbside for pickup on their next refuse collection day. Debris collected by a private contractor must be removed by the contractor.

ELECTRICITY

To report a power outage, call Dominion Energy at 866.366.4357. If you encounter an intersection with an inoperable traffic signal, use caution and treat it as a four-way stop.

Never attempt to turn off power at the electric panel if standing water is present. Call your building manager or electric utility to shut off power outside at the meter. Never step into a flooded room if water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Never touch electric wires, switches or fuses when you are wet or standing in water.

MISSING UTILITY HOLE COVERS

Please do not attempt to move utility hole covers. Report problems via Alex311 online or by calling 311 or 703.746.4311.

SEWER BACKUPS

Cleanup of sewage backups in homes and businesses is the responsibility of the property owner. Property owners are advised to take the following actions after a sewer backup:

  • Take photos of the damage to basement rooms and furnishings.
  • Report the damage to your insurance company.
  • Put damaged carpet, furniture, and other household items at the curb on your next trash collection day for free pickup by City crews if you normally receive City trash collection.
  • Contact a commercial firm for cleanup of water damage, if necessary.
  • After the rain stops, if sewage has come through a floor or plumbing drain, open the drain to allow as much water to drain out as possible; use buckets, a sump pump, or other means to remove as much of the contaminated water as possible.
  • Information about filing a claim with the City is available online or by calling 703.838.4549. All claims will be investigated.
  • For health-related questions, contact the Alexandria Health Department, Environmental Health Division, at 703.838.4400, ext. 266.

Residents who experience backups may benefit from the City’s sewer Backflow Preventer Assistance Program for homeowners.

STANDING WATER

If you encounter standing water on roads, trails, or sidewalks, do not drive, walk, bike or otherwise travel through it. Turn around, don’t drown!

STAY INFORMED

Flash floods develop quickly during periods of heavy rainfall, sometimes in just a few minutes. Staying informed and being prepared for flooding are some of the best ways to protect yourself and your property. Sign up for alerts from theCity of Alexandria and the National Weather Service for severe weather updates.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

While last night’s storm was nearly 30 times more intense than the City’s storm sewer system is designed to handle, the City is currently planning and prioritizing infrastructure improvement projects in the 10-year Capital Improvement Program that will address flooding and drainage issues in less extreme cases. The City identifies flooding and drainage projects through resident complaints, analyses, and field observations.

For additional information, visit alexandriava.gov/Flooding

Staff photo by James Cullum

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