Drainage Causes Foul Smell at Market

Posted September 28, 2007 at 5:55pm

A drainage problem is causing a stink in Eastern Market’s temporary “East Hall.”

The foul smell was discovered behind Southern Maryland Seafood shortly after the East Hall opened in late August.

“It’s endemic, the trench thing that they have there really isn’t a drain,” said Donna Scheeder, chairwoman of Eastern Market Community Action Committee.

Vendors have been complaining of an awful smell resulting when employees at the fish market clean their catch. The drain set up in the hall is causing water to back up and spill out, drawing complaints from customers.

“When [the D.C. Office of Property Management] said that the space would be the same as the space in South Hall, what they meant was square footage and what didn’t happen was a complete reproduction,” Scheeder said. Each merchant was given one sink and one drain rather than a space custom designed to suit individual business needs.

The OPM, which supervises management of the market, plans to fix the drain by replacing it with a trench drain that will catch the water before it spills out into the common area. The office currently is awaiting an estimate for repairs.

“Merchants started moving in and we started seeing that there were some glitches for the way it was working for an individual merchant,” the OPM’s Stacey Norris said. “The situation is a little tricky because of the way the temporary structure was built.”

For the time being, there is a porter on site to keep the place clean.

As for the merchant reaction, Norris said, “It’s kind of been a work in progress. I think at first it was little shocking, but now they see the city is trying to find a solution.”

“It’s not as bad as it was before. They have a professional crew taking care of it,” said Juan Canales of Canales Delicatessen, a vendor in East Hall.