News & Politics

MPD Posts Alert for Biltmore Street Sinkhole

But not all sinkholes are the same.

A sinkhole in the 1900 block of Biltmore Street, Northwest, as it appeared at 1:45 PM on Tuesday. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

When the Metropolitan Police Department put out an alert Tuesday for a sinkhole in
Northwest that was “25 feet deep” we instantly thought of the Florida sinkhole of
11 days ago that swallowed and killed a man. We immediately headed over to the reported
location, the 1900 block of Biltmore Street, Northwest.

Well, there are sinkholes and then there are sinkholes. Not to discount the concerns
of area residents, but the MPD may have overplayed the scope of the Biltmore Street
sinkhole, which appeared to be beneath an asphalt-covered section of the sidewalk.
When asked about its depth, a DC Water employee peered into the taped-off hole and
replied, “Five to six feet.”

Sinkholes are not uncommon in DC, and some can grow to a scary size. They can be the
result of earlier construction that wasn’t properly filled in or loamy earth that
sits beneath a city that once was partially swampland.

Hopefully the current size of the Biltmore street sinkhole is as wide and deep as
it will get.