Two days after raw sewage flooded homes along the 300 block of Bryant Street, Northeast in Edgewood, neighbors called for district leaders to offer relief as some cleaned and others gutted their basements on Saturday.
Heavy rain on Thursday led to scenes tough to stomach inside the homes: inches of brown and black murky water mixed with debris soaking couches, rugs and anything left in its way.
For residents like Jessica Sarstedt, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost eight years, the flooding was tough to experience.
"I heard water running in my basement and I sprinted downstairs and it was a geyser coming up from my floor drain and through my basement toilet. It was clear from the stench that it was sewage," she said. "I screamed and ran outside to ask my neighbors for help. I realized every single one on my street was experiencing the same thing.”
On Saturday, multiple trash crews and mitigation companies could be seen stopping by and taking away items damaged in the flooding.
With the stench still sticking around, neighbors who spoke to WUSA 9 worried about possible health risks.
"God knows what else was in the water from outside," said Darnelle Jones, whose family worked on scrubbing their porch nearby. "It was all the way through the house. Some people had a few inches. Some people had up to a foot.”
"What happened on Thursday was devastating. Tens of thousands of dollars in damage," added Sarstedt. "Every inch that this water touched needs to be destroyed. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in these homes.”
Following the devastation and now continuing to recover, neighbors have called on district leaders for help.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Water General Manager David Gadis both visited Edgewood on Saturday and spoke with residents.
While the appearances brought some appreciation, both Sarstedt and Jones voiced disappointment with how the neighborhood was still waiting for vital answers to their needs.
"It’s kind of like a, 'We’re going to push it on DC Water.' DC Water is going to try and help but then we’re going to try and throw it here," Jones said. "They can’t help nature and we can’t either. Now that you know what’s done and the damage that’s here, what are you going to do fix it?”
Both Jones and Sarstedt hoped leaders would issue relief for neighbors or announce a local declaration of emergency to allow funding to be allocated for their damage.
"We really need our elected officials to find the money and emergency funding to help us," Sarstedt said. "We are looking for a concrete plan from them to provide financial support for this community.”
"We’re committed to paying taxes. If we had to pay the bill, they would stay on top of it," Jones added. "There needs to be some sort of financial commitment to these people.”
After being contacted by WUSA9 on Saturday, DC Water advised residents to contact their insurance providers and to file claims.
A spokesman also encouraged the neighbors to sign up for a special rebate program through DC Water to install backflow preventers in their homes, which would prevent sewage from coming back up through pipes during heavy storms.
As the waiting period brings more cleaning and repairing inside the Edgewood homes, Darnelle Jones hoped help would come soon.
"A lot of things can’t be replaced. It doesn’t matter how much money they give up," she said. "If they can’t fix it, put us in the direction of an agency who can help.”