A clogged pipe reveals a messy situation for the U.S. Postal Service.


If you’re missing a bill or two from the Washington, D.C. area, it might be sitting in a catch basin at Anacostia Ave. and Douglas St. NE. Residents there discovered a load of mail had been dumped in the catch basin after the bills, letters and notices started clogging pipes.

The discovery was made thanks to an irksome kitchen sink. Resident Gertrude Troyer asked her neighbor Vincent Wright to snake out the troublesome drain. According to a report from D.C.’s WJLA, Wright says when he attempted to clear the drain, he discovered the pipe was full of paper. Lots of paper. He followed the trail of discarded goods to the catch basin nearby, and discovered enough U.S. mail to fill a wagon.

According to Wright’s statement, the tossed mail included everything from bills to a check to a neighborhood company for $10,800, postmarked with dates as recent as May 11.

Related: Green Infrastructure Planned for Washington, D.C.

Postmaster Gerald Roane showed up at the scene to take a firsthand look at the problem. According to him, the neighborhood’s regular postal carrier had been off last week, so it was unclear who had dumped the mail. Later, Postal Service Spokesman Tom Ouellette released a statement saying an investigation is underway and that “rest assured, we will make every effort to recover and deliver all mail as promptly as possible.”

The Postal Service planned to return to the scene with workers from D.C. Water to recover as much mail as possible.

Now, here at TPO, we’ve reported on a plenty of unusual things found in the sewer systems around this great country (including everything from trees to rings to toys and more), but this might be a first.

Related: DC Water and WEF Launch National Green Infrastructure Certification Program

However, it definitely puts the well-known USPS creed in perspective. But maybe someone needs to modify it just a little ….

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor sewer water stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”


Related Stories

Like this story? Sign up for alerts!