D.C. Water To Cut Pollution From Wastewater Plant By Half | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Water To Cut Pollution From Wastewater Plant By Half

Play associated audio
The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant in the world. It has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of sewage a day.
D.C. Water and Sewer Authority
The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant in the world. It has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of sewage a day.

The city, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, and federal agencies broke ground on the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant Tuesday.

Here's how it'll work: One set of bacteria will remove nitrogen from some of the 370 million gallons of waste the region flushes through the sewers to the plant each day. Another set of bacteria will bubble that nitrogen into the atmosphere in a non-polluting form. What's left of the waste is cooked to break it down further and sterilize it.

More bacteria feed on that, breaking it down even further and generating methane gas. The gas is used to power the plant.

George Hawkins, the head of D.C. Water, says the project will revolutionize operations at the plant.

"This is going to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we'll have energy for the plant, and the amount of solids we truck off this site is gonna drop in half," says Hawkins.

The plant will also cover a third of it's own electricity needs and cut its nitrogen pollution in half.

"This is discharges that otherwise would go to the Potomac and from the Potomac right to the Chesapeake," says Hawkins.

D.C. Water says the upgrades, which will cost $1.4 billion dollars, will pay for themselves in 7 years. The cost of the improvement will be paid by ratepayers.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 22

This weekend you can see two classic operas about sex, jealousy and drama or sit down for a children’s theater performance that takes a lighter look at love.

WAMU 88.5

Two Chicken Megafarms Proposed In Delaware

Delaware is already a big state for the poultry industry, but proposals for two new megafarms could take things to the next level.

NPR

U.S. Appeals Court Deals Blow To Obama's Health Law

A three-judge panel's decision essentially throws out subsidies in the 36 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. A Justice Department spokeswoman says the ruling will be appealed.
NPR

Tweeting From A Conflict Zone: Does It Help Or Hurt News Reporting?

As Gaza, Ukraine and Syria trend on Twitter, has social media changed the way conflicts are covered? Host Michel Martin finds out from reporter Anne Barnard and Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.