IR-2006-102, June 29, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The IRS Headquarters Building at 1111 Constitution Ave. NW in Washington is likely to remain closed for at least 30 days due to flooding and electrical outages.
The building sustained extensive damage to the infrastructure, office furniture and supplies.
The subbasement was submerged in more than 20 feet of water. The subbasement holds all of the building’s electrical and maintenance equipment such as electrical transformers, electrical switchgears, and chillers. Although these systems require closer inspection, they appear to be 95 percent damaged or destroyed.
The basement was flooded with five feet of water. The fitness center, food service canteens, offices, systems furniture, carpet, ceiling tiles, computer equipment and vehicles garaged in the building were all destroyed.
While an assessment of total damage will not be completed for several more days, costs are expected to run in the tens of millions of dollars.
Water is continuing to be pumped from the subbasement. Between six and twelve pumps have been running since Monday to clear the water from the building, and it is expected the subbasement will not be completely emptied until Friday.
An initial clean-up and decontamination crew began cleanup efforts in the basement level Wednesday. By Friday, two crews of 50 will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week until cleanup is complete.
Repairs to the headquarters building will not impact the IRS’s service and enforcement operations during this period.
All IRS business units have extensive business resumption plans that have been executed. The 2,400 employees who work at the headquarters building are being relocated to the other 12 buildings IRS occupies in the metro area or into temporary space, and some will telecommute as appropriate.
"The building will be closed for an extended period of time, and we will reoccupy it only when it is safe to do so," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "We’re working closely with GSA to make all necessary repairs."
The IRS encourages employees who work in the building to call the Employee Emergency Hotline at 1-866-743-5748, option 3, state code 32; or check IRS.gov, key word "employee emergency" for further updates.